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Phantasy Star Online 2: Episode Oracle is a Science Fantasy anime based on the popular Japanese online RPG Phantasy Star Online 2, an installment in SEGA's long-running Phantasy Star series. The anime premiered in October 2019 and is animated by GONZO. It is the second anime project based on the game, although story-wise it is completely disconnected from Phantasy Star Online 2: The Animation, instead adapating the first three Episodes from the game, collectively known as the "Oracle Arc".

In a certain time, in a certain place, spacefarers discovered a miraculous source of energy known as "Photons", serving as both a source of light and a source of power. Using Photons as their foundation, these spacefarers built the Colony Ship fleet of Oracle for the purposes of space exploration, and they themselves became known as Photoners. No sooner did the Photoners discover Photons did the they discover the Darkers, Eldritch Abominations that exist only to corrupt and destroy. To fight the Darkers, the Photoners created three races in their image capable of wielding Photons: Humans, Newmans, and CASTs, and together they created the military organization known as "ARKS" (Artificial Relicit to Keep Species). With the power of Photons, the ARKS are tasked with discovering unknown reaches of the universe and eradicating the Darker threat.

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Enter Ash, a recruit freshly graduated from the ARKS Cadet program. What is meant to be a ceremonial graduation exercise goes horribly awry when Darkers unexpectedly attack, alerting the ARKS to a massive spike in Darker activity across three planets: the forest planet Naberius; Amduscia, home of the Dragonkin; and the desert planet Lillipa. When Ash meets the enigmatic Xion, he and his allies soon find themselves at the center of a conflict that will change the destinies of ARKS, Oracle, and the very universe itself.

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Phantasy Star Online 2: Episode Oracle contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Many of the returning characters who aren't CASTs match their intended designs much more closely than their in-game counterparts.
    • Afin's anime design is very cute, whereas his game counterpart (due to the limitations of facial design early in the game's lifespan) is on the plain side.
    • Matoi has slightly accentuated features in her anime design, especially the parts of her body not covered by clothing.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • The Darkers are portrayed as a far graver threat than in the game, where you'll be tearing through scores of them on any given mission. Here, even a pack of Dagans is a deadly force.
    • Persona is far more of a threat than in the game, where the Player defeats him regularly both in-story and in-game as a random encounter. Here, Ash is completely outmatched by Persona, who is barely trying in their first two fights.
  • Adaptation Deviation: Pretty much the entire seventh episode.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance / Early-Bird Cameo / The Cameo : Several characters appear earlier than they did in the games, including early cameo apperances from Hadred, Quna, Luther and Stratos (the first two aren't supposed to appear until after Zeno is left to die with Falz Hunar).
    • The space-capable AISes and the laser used to defeat Elder's main body didn't exist until much later in the games.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • Luther is seen spying on Ash's escapades throughout the events of EPISODE 1 and convincing Gettemhult to steal the Clarissa, whereas the game only made him a prominent figure in EPISODE 2.
    • Episode three adds an explanation for that giant pillar in the Ruins: the essence of Dark Falz Elder is absorbing ARKS into the pillar to fuel his revival. When Ash takes a good look at the pillar's base, one can see hundreds of corpses sealed inside.
    • Ulc is first seen working as a waitress at Franka's Cafe, an area that wasn't introduced in the game until EPISODE 4. Afin is also shown developing an attraction for her, whereas the two never met in-game.
    • Unlike the game, where Jig's workshop on Themis was mentioned but never seen, Ash and Afin actually go to Themis to hand him the Clarissa directly.
    • In the game, Gettemhult's motives for reviving Dark Falz Elder were pretty flimsy. It's also not elaborated upon how or why he knew to steal the Clarissa from Jig at the moment he returned to Themis to assemble the pieces. In the anime, it's shown that Luther is explicitly manipulating him, goading him into reviving Elder under the pretense of "infinite power" and helping him do it, including leading him to the Clarissa and instructing him to kidnap Matoi.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Played with in terms of Matoi; while she still has her Mikoto Cluster outfit that is fully intact and is displayed on the key art, she spends most of her screentime in her new Liberty Cluster outfit unique to the anime adaptation, which is considerably more covered up than any of her other outfits.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Rogio, a minor character in EPISODE 1 who asks the player to help him investigate the strange Hailfire Peaks properties of Naberius, is cut from the adaptation of EPISODE 1 entirely.
    • Falz Hunar does not appear in EPISODE 1, with Elder only staying in his human or Falz forms for the entirety of his screentime.
  • All There in the Manual: Good luck knowing any of the enemy names if you're unfamiliar with the source material.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Zeno snipes an El Ahda's core for a One-Hit Kill to save Afin.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The latter half of Episode 8 is a truncated adaptation of EPISODE 0 from Melfonseana's (or rather, Melrandia's) point of view.
  • The Anime of the Game: Of Phantasy Star Online 2, but unlike The Animation from 2016, it's a retelling of Episodes 1-3.
  • Battle in the Rain: The encounter with the El Ahda in the first episode takes place during a heavy downpour.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Zeno shows up to save Ash and Afin from an El Ahda and a pack of Dagans, eliminating them all with a few well-placed Gunslash shots.
    • Gettemhult shows up during the battle with Persona to sock him in the face, although it's less so out of good will than him just wanting to punch Persona. He does it again against some Darkers in the very next episode, for much the same reasons.
    • Persona saves Ash, Afin and Matoi when a Falz Arm gets the jump on them and nearly squashes them.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Where the game is somewhat infamous for its Bloodless Carnage, the anime has no compunctions showing blood and graphic violence. Even the Darkers spurt out particles like High-Pressure Blood, unlike the game where they simply dissipate.
  • Call-Back: The anime adds some references to Phantasy Star Online 2 EPISODE 0 that weren't in the game, as the events of the manga serve as major backstory elements for Gettemhult, Melfonseana, and Zeno.
  • Call-Forward:
    • A subtle one; Matoi's loose hair at the end of the first episode is taken from Matoi Viel's hairstyle in EPISODE 3.
    • The Medical Center is seen using hospital gowns identical in appearance to the Exam Leash, an outfit originally worn by Flo in EPISODE 5.
    • Klariskrays I, Atossa, and Wolf, who originally made their first on-screen appearance in the final Chapter of EPISODE 5, are seen in a flashback fighting Dark Falz Elder in the Elder War alongside Regius, Maria, and Casra. In addition, if you look carefully at the image, the Casra seen in the flashback resembles Luther from behind, alluding to a plot twist much later down the line.
    • A young Stratos appears during the Themis invasion, tying into her backstory in EPISODE 5.
    • The real Melfonseana from Phantasy Star Online 2 EPISODE 0 appears momentarily in Episode six during a split second flashback.
    • The laser-armed cruiser ships that debuted in the EPISODE 6 raid "Armada of Demise" are used in episode 7 to fight Dark Falz Elder and the Falz Arms.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the second episode, Pati and Tiea explain that ARKS have the ability to naturally absorb and purify Darker particles, but absorbing too much at once can have negative side effects. This ability eventually becomes a catalyst for some major plot twists towards the end of EPISODE 2 and EPISODE 3.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: In Episode three, Ash comes across Klariskrays III surrounded by a mob of Dagans and a Dark Ragne. Believing that she's in danger, Ash jumps into battle and starts slashing away at the Dark Ragne. Klariskrays III, being the kind of person she is, showers the Ragne with enough Rafoies to knock Ash out cold, then promptly gives him what for.
  • Conspicuous CG:
    • Used extensively. In particular, Darkers are all CG-rendered, giving them a fitting otherworldly feel in comparison to the traditionally-drawn ARKS and native lifeforms.
    • Dark Falz Elder's revival scene is lifted from the game wholesale with a subtle visual filter over it.
  • The Corruption: Darker particles have the ability to corrupt living beings it comes into contact with. ARKS have a natural passive ability that allows them to absorb the Darker particles from Darkers that they kill and gradually purify it with their own bodies. However, absorbing too much at once runs the risk of causing the user to succumb to its effects and go berserk.
  • Curbstomp Battle:
    • Although the rookie ARKS put up fair resistance, the fight against the Dagans quickly goes south as they kill nearly everyone present. Ash and Afin only survive by booking it after they realize they're the last men standing.
    • In Episode six, Gettemhult takes out Zeno, Echo, and Ash in one blow each. He does it again later in the episode, and even gives Casra a beating with a single punch to the face.
    • Ash is completely outmatched by Persona in their first two one-on-one encounters, with Persona easily dodging and blocking Ash's attacks without much effort. Justified, as Persona is Ash from the future who is a more seasoned ARKS and likely knew what Ash was thinking before he can act.
  • Darker and Edgier: In addition to the more visceral violence and elevated threat of the Darkers, this anime emphasizes and plays for horror some plot points that are mostly glossed over in the game, such as the effects of The Corruption on ARKS members.
  • Dub Name Change: Funimation's subtitled version includes several changes in terminology. Most notably, the Darkers are referred to as "Falspawn", despite the previous anime (licensed by Crunchyroll) having used the original name.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Luther is seen watching events unfold behind the scenes in Episode one, long before he takes center stage.
    • Like their game counterpart, Dark Falz Double makes brief appearances in EPISODE 1 before they become relevant later down the line.
  • Escort Mission: Ash and Afin end up having to bring Matoi along on an expedition to Naberius shortly after her recovery. However, since she can't fight, this is the result.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The anime changes Zeno's Weapon of Choice from a Sword to a Gunslash, alluding to his inheritance of the Genesis Weapon Nanaki (a Gunslash) at the end of EPISODE 2.
    • During their first meeting, Persona says to Ash, "I will be the one to kill that girl, and also, the one who will kill you". Both statements are technically correct due to the Stable Time Loop, as Ash kills both Matoi and Persona (who is also Ash) and becomes the next Persona.
    • The presence of a "rampaging dragon" is offhandedly mentioned by Kohana at the beginning of the second episode. This is Hadred, whose presence becomes the focus of the end of EPISODE 1.
    • In Episode three, a visual distortion can be seen when Matoi wanders into the Ruins, hinting at the presence of Quna.
    • When Matoi touches the Clarissa, she sees a flashback of her getting Impaled with Extreme Prejudice by Persona ten years ago.
    • Similar to Zeno's case, Theodor's Weapon of Choice is the Wand instead of the Talis, alluding to his weapon change as a major boss fight in EPISODE 2.
    • In Episode 8, Sara casually approaches Ash motioning for a high-five to congratulate him over something he did, much to his confusion before Sara awkwardly tells him to dismiss what she said. This is because Sara, Maria and a time-travelling Ash worked together to rescue Zeno from Elder in the past and Sara realized that she's talking to present-day Ash who hasn't been through those events yet.
    • When Elder fights Ash in Episode 8, he makes some cryptic comments that make it sound like they've already fought before. As it turns out, Ash did fight Elder already... via Time Travel.
  • Great Offscreen War: The Elder War, a major counteroffensive against Dark Falz Elder instigated by ARKS 40 years prior to the story. Leading the charge was six of ARKS most talented members: Regius, Maria, Klariskrays I, Atossa, Wolf, and Casra, who would later form the Council of Six as a result of their heroic deeds. While ARKS ultimately managed to defeat Elder, it came with extreme losses, and unable to truly kill Elder, ARKS was forced to seal Elder inside Naberius instead.
  • Green Hill Zone: The Naberius Forest is treated as such. In addition to being an archetypal forest area, it is considered a safe enough environment due to the lack of Darkers that graduating Cadets can get field training there. Unfortunately, when the Darkers actually show up...
  • Hailfire Peaks: While looking for Matoi, Ash ends up finding where the Forest ends and the Tundra begins. The abrupt nature of the transition catches Ash's attention.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Jig's body is found split in half after he's attacked by Gettemhult. Thankfully, since he's a CAST, he's none the worse for wear and is sent back for repairs.
  • Have We Met?: Zeno asks this to Ash in the first episode, only to brush it aside. This becomes a plot point later on when Ash meets a young Zeno in the past.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Ash. Persona as well, as he is Ash from an Alternate Universe.
  • Killed Offscreen: Ulc is last seen hiding behind the tank she was driving after it was blown off the road. When Ash, Afin, and Theo find her next, both the tank and her corpse are completely immolated.
    • As with the games, Zeno is left behind with Falz Hunar and is implied to be dead when Elder's main body is unleashed.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: ARKS who are being lured by Elder lose the highlights in their eyes.
  • Mini-Mecha: Episode 7 features the debut of the ARKS Interception Silhouette (or AIS for short), a piloted humanoid mecha roughly 50 meters tall wielding a Photon Saber and multi-purpose rifle.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The logo of the anime uses the original logo that the game used in the first three Episodes, compared to the revised logo introduced in EPISODE 4 onwards that was used in The Animation.
    • Ash is based on the default HUmar from promotional material, which in turn was modeled on and named after the HUmar NPC from Phantasy Star Online.
    • The other characters on the Campship at the start of the first episode are likewise references to the other default characters used in promotional material — Sue the HUnewearl, Gilliam the RAcast, and Rupika the FOnewearl — and premade characters that can be found in the game's character creator.
    • The scene of Ash jumping into the Campship's teleporter in the opening is taken from the game's first opening movie.
    • The overview video shown at the start of the first episode recreates parts of the game's pre-EPISODE 2 introductory cutscene.
    • After the initial encounter with Persona, Gettemhult ignores Zeno and talks directly to Ash and Afin. Zeno wasn't present for the cutscene that the line is based off of, hence why Gettemhult only notices Zeno's presence after the fact.
    • The Gunner Takura in the fourth episode is voiced by Ai Ichitaro, former host of the "ARKS Live" and "ARKS Live One More!" livestreams for the game. The role alludes to Ichitaro being a known Gunner main in real life.
    • When Zeno talks about how he used to admire Gettemhult, he is accompanied by a flashback image depicting Gettemhult as he appears in Phantasy Star Online 2 EPISODE 0.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted in Episode three, where Afin gets up early and relieves himself at a nearby tree before being interrupted by an explosion in the distance.
  • Off with His Head!:
    • Sue is stabbed through the neck by a Dagan and decapitated. Afin ends up stumbling while running from another Dagan and comes face to face with her head, frightening him.
    • A common way to deal with Dagans. Ash slices the heads off a few Dagans for a One-Hit Kill, and Kohana does the same with a Gunslash shot.
  • Panthera Awesome: Fang Banther, a massive and deadly feline creature native to Naberius, impedes Ash's path at one point while he's looking for Matoi in Episode three. Ash manages to hide long enough for it to lose interest in him and walk away.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: While Episode Oracle follows the general plot structure of the Oracle Arc, the anime alters several aspects of the story to improve cohesion and flow.
    • The most drastic change is that Matoi plays a significantly more active role in the events of EPISODE 1, compared to her in-game counterpart who did next to nothing until well into EPISODE 2.
    • The Matter Board is never mentioned at all, as it primarily serves as a gameplay element more than a plot device. Incidentally, Xion's influence on the plot is also reduced, only appearing occasionally to give guidance to Ash.
    • Episode two makes a point of introducing several plot threads earlier than their in-game counterparts. This includes the start of Afin's subplot, The Corruption negatively affecting ARKS, and references to Hadred.
    • The truth behind the Elder War, originally a major plot twist at the end of EPISODE 1, is revealed as early as Episode three and serves as Foreshadowing for later.
    • The Clarissa Pieces, which constituted the bulk of the plot in EPISODE 1, is condensed to Ash simply finding the Clarissa wholly intact in the Tundra.
    • The Dark Falz Elder fight scene is drastically altered; compared to the game, where the players fight the Falz Arms repeatedly until the boss is weak enough to be challenged directly, ARKS dispatches AIS to defend the fleet from Falz Arms before Regius deploys the Mothership Photon Blaster to annihilate Elder once he sends out enough Falz Arms to deplete his mass beyond a certain threshold.
    • Melrandia's character arc is resolved as early as Episode 8, compared to being delayed to EPISODE 2 like in the game.
  • Reality Ensues: The risks involved for an interplanetary military organization battling highly-lethal and infectious Eldritch Abomination monsters are definitely Played for Drama in the anime. Bodies drop with relatively high frequency, and the most anyone in ARKS has to say about it is "Them's the breaks, deal with it".
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
    • Glowing red eyes are the telltale signs that an ARKS is being influenced by The Corruption.
    • Played for Laughs in Episode three when Klariskrays III "confronts" Ash after he tries to intervene in her battle.
  • Sacrificial Lion: The second episode introduces Kohana, an ARKS veteran rumored to be strong enough to stand on the Council of Six. She falls victim to Darker corruption and is messily Killed Offscreen within the same episode.
  • Shout-Out: Huey references the catchphrase of Kamen Rider Stronger, though being the large ham that he is, he paraphrases it in a fairly egotistical manner.
  • Wave Motion Gun: To defeat Dark Falz Elder, Luther convinces Regius to use the Mothership's Photon Blaster function, firing a massive beam of concentrated Photons that decimates everything in its path, friend and foe alike.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Episode two introduces an anime-only character called Kohana, who is acquainted with Gettemhult and is rumored to rival the Council of Six in strength. After she is overloaded on Darker particles and goes berserk, her bloodied corpse is discovered by Ash and Afin.
  • The Worf Effect: In Episode four, Ash and Afin end up teaming up with a Gunner named Takura, who is seen kicking Darker ass like a walk in the park. He lasts no longer than a minute on-screen before Hadred eats him whole, leaving nothing behind but his Twin Machineguns and a blood splatter.
  • You ALL Look Familiar: Any non-important, unnamed character (predominantly civilians and Red Shirts) who appears on-screen has a fairly generic design and wears only one of a few outfit variations. The one exception is in Episode 5, where a young girl with a very distinct appearance (blue hair and red eyes) is given a clear shot on-screen, acting as a surprise Call-Forward for Stratos.


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