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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 the universe. 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:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects:
    • 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.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • The adaptation of EPISODE 1 streamlines the story by removing several subplots and world-building scenes, many of which are commonly attributed to the notoriously-slow pacing of the story in the game.
    • Episode 2 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.
    • Melrandia's character arc is resolved as early as Episode 8, compared to being delayed to EPISODE 2 like in the game.
    • The bulk of the action is moved to Naverius instead of being spread out across the other planets like in the game. The appearances of other planets are only out of necessity, such as Wopal, which has some of Luther's secret labs, and Amduskia, where Xiao and Sarah are hiding out.
    • The adaptation of EPISODE 2 rushes through the entire first half of the arc's plot within the first two episodes, leaving the next six episodes open to cover the Luther and Klariskrays storylines.
  • 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.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole:
    • In the game, Persona obtains the Clarissa after Matoi becomes the Profound Darkness by simply picking it up while the player is knocked out. In the anime, Persona simply has the Clarissa in his hand with no explanation as to how he got it, since the Clarissa vanished upon being used to purify Ash.
    • The anime does not explain why Persona is another version of Ash due to skipping the Bad Ending.
  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: The anime's version of the EPISODE 3 ending is quite a bit more positive, as instead of Persona becoming a new host, Persona uses himself to seal the Profound Darkness away for the foreseeable future.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
    • Stratos, Alma, Atossa, Wolf, and Clarissa are all referenced throughout the anime despite originally making their first on-screen appearances in EPISODE 5 content.
    • Episode 24 has Ash and Sara visiting the interior of Mothership Xiao, which first appeared in EPISODE 6.
  • 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.
    • Quna and Haddred's backstory is explored with much more depth rather than simply being told to the player by the former.
    • Episode 16 adds an extra scene on Lillipa that resolves Klariskrays III's character arc before starting Afin's subplot.
    • Episodes 17 and 18 integrate plot elements from Phantasy Star Online 2 EPISODE 0, which covers the events featured in the episodes.
  • 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:
    • Several characters who only have relevance in minor subplots, such as Aki, Right, Rogio, Cabracan, and the Class Trainers (except Lisa) are omitted from the anime 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.
    • Likewise, Luther never transforms into either this Falz Angel or Dark Falz [Luther] forms, staying in human form only. At best he grows wings and flies, but that's about it.
    • Theodor's Genesis Weapon that Luther created for him is never seen. He instead weaponizes the Clarissa against Ash and Matoi.
    • Anything related to Harkotan is nowhere to be seen, including Sukunahime and Kotoshiro, despite the planet being closely intertwined with the plot of EPISODE 3 and later seen in EPISODE 6.
    • The Bad Ending, a major plot point that explains how Persona came to be and the cause of the Stable Time Loop, is cut out.
    • Anga Fundarge, Dark Falz [Gemini]'s true form, and the Profound Darkness's true form do not appear in any capacity. Viel Hunar, the fused form of Matoi Viel and Anga Fundarge, does make an appearance, however.
  • All There in the Manual: Good luck knowing any of the enemy names if you're unfamiliar with the source material.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Ash sends a Sword Beam straight through Falz Dourumble's left arm before slicing off their right arm, destroying both. This is reflected in [Gemini] when they unfuse, as both kids have lost their larger arms.
  • As You Know: Subverted at one point in Episode 21, when Huey casually mentions to Ash that Klariskrays is Sarah's clone, assuming that Ash already knew that. This information shocks Ash, as this was never mentioned to him (or the viewer) at any point. Huey pauses for a Beat before awkwardly changing the topic.
  • 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.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The anime ends with Persona sealing the Profound Darkness within himself, doomed to repeat history forever until the Profound Darkness breaks its seal. However, Ash and Matoi both survive, free from the fate that was seemingly set in stone, and Xiao assures them that the next time the Profound Darkness appears, ARKS will be ready.
  • 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.
  • Breather Episode: Episode 20 features a huge cavalcade of plot development, including Afin and Matoi rescuing Eucrita from the Dark Falz power possessing her, as well as Elder pulling a Taking You with Me on Gemini, seemingly destroying them both. Episode 21 is significantly more lighthearted, featuring Ash and Huey attempting to resolve the tension surrounding Sarah and Klariskrays III.
  • 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. The real Melfonseana, who first debuted in the manga, additionally appears during some Flashback sequences that weren't in the original game.
    • When Ash sees Quna killing some corrupted ARKS, he recognizes their wounds as the same ones that killed Kohana back in Episode 2.
  • 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.
    • A young Stratos appears during the Themis invasion, tying into her backstory in EPISODE 5.
    • In Episode 24, Ash talks to Risa, who is in an altered personality state. While this references a specific cutscene from EPISODE 3, the anime changes her eyes and the Tron Lines on her body to blue during the scene, mirroring her appearance in EPISODE 6 when Harriet is controlling her.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Sarah and Klariskrays have a heart to heart while beating the crap out of a pair of Org Blan that got the jump on them.
  • The Cavalry: When it seems like the horde of KK Clones will never end, the Council is suddenly aided by the ARKS forces on the Mothership, who have been freed from the control of ABYSS. They manage to hold back the Clones long enough to buy time for the Council to press onward to the core.
  • 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.
    • The yellow ribbon tied to Haddred's left horn. It was sent through time upon his death, where the Photoners used the blood stained on the ribbon to create Deumans.
    • Ash's necklace. Luther eventually reveals in Episode 23 that it's an authentication insignia that marks Ash as his creation.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: In Episode 4, a pop idol named Quna is mentioned by Afin when Ash sees her performing on TV. She is later recognized as the mysterious invisible girl that Ash has repeatedly encountered by the hermit scientist living in the ruins of one of Void's labs.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Dramatic Unmask: At the end of Episode 21, Persona appears before Ash and Xiao and casually takes off his mask, revealing him to have the same face as Ash.
  • Dub Name Change: Funimation's subtitled version uses terms coined by the then-unreleased North American version of the game ahead of its release. This includes changes like "Darkers" becoming "Falspawn" and "Dark Falz Double" becoming "Dark Falz Gemini", among others.
  • 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.
  • Enemy Mine: During the attack on Lillipa's Mining Base, Gemini's tactics sufficiently irritate Elder to the point where he steps in and attempts to dispose of Gemini himself.
  • 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.
    • When Matoi meets Xion in Episode 11, Matoi claims that Xion's voice feels nostalgic to her. Xion is the voice in the Clarissa that Matoi wielded in the past as Klariskrays II.
  • Gainaxing: Episode 9 gives us a scene of Pati running towards Ash with her breasts bouncing wildly as she runs.
  • 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.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: When Xion realizes that it's too late for Ash to save her, she asks Ash to kill her to prevent Luther from gaining omniscience and to wrest control of the fleet away from Luther so Xiao can take his place.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Matoi suffers this twice within the span of just a few minutes. She is first impaled by Persona's Coat Edge D in an attempt to kill her, then impaled again by the Clarissa when she attempts to purify herself after the Darker Factor overcomes her.
    • The Clarissa later does this to Ash as he's transforming into the Profound Darkness.
  • It Only Works Once: World's End, Regius's Genesis Weapon. Shortly after Regius uses it to bisect Luther (and everything behind him), the blade shatters instantly as a side effect of Xion's death.
  • 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.
  • Made of Explodium: Risa notices the massive amount of energy buildup in Mothership Xion's core and states that the entire ship will go nova shortly. Xiao sends the corrupted Mothership through a spacial tear to avert any immediate damage to Oracle, and sure enough, the entire fleet witnesses an explosion large and bright enough to paint the image of Xion herself.
  • 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.
  • Musical Nod: The second opening theme, "UniVerse", uses a sped-up instrumentation from "'IDOLA' the strange fruits", the Final Boss theme from Phantasy Star Online Episode III, as part of the chorus. Also doubles as a Mythology Gag to the theme of the Profound Darkness, which uses a rearrangement of said song.
  • 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. This video is later replayed at the start of Episode 11, with Deumans now included as in the EPISODE 2 version of the scene.
    • 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.
    • Episode 10 has a unique credits roll based on the game's credits sequences at the end of some Episodes. It also has "Eternal Encore" playing over it, just like the credits scene of EPISODE 1.
    • In Episode 12, Ulku grabs a Yasminkov 5000S, a rare Assault Rifle, to use as a weapon.
    • Luther the Fallen in Episode 16 uses some of his lines from the Dark Falz [Luther] fight. He also uses summoned swords against Ash and Matoi, referencing his infamous Desperation Attack from the game.
    • The second ending theme features a shot of Risa and Io playing Battle Arena.
    • The scenes of the Profound Darkness's summoning and defeat are based directly on cutscenes from the boss fight against it.
    • The post-climax scene of the final episode has the Council standing in a flower field while "Rose Confession" from Phantasy Star Online plays in the background, mimicking the end of the raid boss battle against the Profound Darkness where the players are dropped onto a flower field in the Ruins area after successfully defeating it.
    • The credits scene of Episode 25 mirrors the credits of EPISODE 3, with the Clarissa dissolving as it sinks to the bottom of the ocean while "Hello" plays in the background.
  • Never My Fault: The crazy old man blames Quna for her failure to subject herself to Void's experiments, despite said experiments being clearly immoral and dangerous. Quna just tells him to piss off.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In Episode 19, Xiao panics when the Clarissa begins purifying Matoi and attempts to pull Ash back to the present. The energy from the time-space distortion mixes with the Clarissa's energy and pulls Matoi with it, causing Matoi to get sent ten years into the future.
  • No-Sell: When Luther launches beams of energy at the party during the final battle against him, Ash runs up and blocks the beam with his Sword, managing to drain all the energy off of the beam and harmlessly dispelling it. Even the Council and Luther are shocked by Ash's display of power.
  • 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.
  • Original Generation:
    • Episode 2 introduces Kohana, an ARKS veteran who is found dead by the end of the episode.
    • In Episode 9, Ash finds an old man not seen in the game living alone in an abandoned laboratory. As it turns out, he is a researcher from the Central Research Department (Void) who is the Sole Survivor of Haddred's rampage two years ago.
  • 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.
  • Plot Hole: Ash's abnormally-strong purification ability is never directly addressed.
  • Potty Emergency: Afin has one in Episode 16 when the party goes to Lillipa. He returns just in time to meet his sister, Dark Falz Apprentice.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • In Episode 13, as Oza, Marlur and Fourie does not appeared in the anime, they were replaced by Afin and Io when confronting in the Mothership under the Abyss order.
    • Strangely, any and all references to Harkotan were removed in the EPISODE 3 adaptation, instead having Ash spend time tying up loose ends for other character arcs throughout the story while the main plot progresses in the background.
  • 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".
  • Recap Episode: Episode 12.5, "Xiao's Report", goes over all the material covered in the previous 12 episodes, including all of EPISODE 1 and half of EPISODE 2.
  • 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:
  • Smart People Play Chess: One of the shots from the second ending shows Casra and Xiao playing chess.
  • Stable Time Loop: This occurs as the result of Xiao sending Ash back ten years, where Matoi is sent to the future explicitly because Ash and Xiao traveled to the past and interfered.
  • Taking the Bullet:
    • When Gemini attempts to consume Melfonseana, Elder pushes her out of the way, allowing himself to be attacked instead.
    • Ash pushes Matoi out of the way when Gemini attacks them with a concentrated stream of Darker Factor. However, as he's transforming into the Profound Darkness, Matoi uses the Clarissa's power to purify Ash and transfer his absorbed Darker Factor into herself, becoming the Profound Darkness in Ash's place.
    • When Matoi attempts to kill herself with a payload of Darker Factor, Ash jumps in front of Matoi at the last second and gets hit. Matoi's sudden anguish immediately shatters the Council's barrier and spawns the Profound Darkness above Naverius.
  • Taking You with Me: Elder attempts to destroy both himself and Gemini by using raw strength to bend the fabric of space itself, ultimately engulfing both of them. It doesn't work, but it does get Gemini out of the heroes' hair for the time being.
  • There Are No Therapists: Like the game, a non-insignificant number of characters go through some pretty traumatizing stuff, almost all of which involve the loss or death of a loved one. Pretty much all of them except Echo come out worse because of it.
    • Gettemhult was so traumatized by the real Melfonseana's death that he transformed from a Nice Guy into an Ax-Crazy Blood Knight who has deluded himself into believing that the younger sister of his girlfriend is is his girlfriend.
    • Melfonseana was also deeply affected by the same event that traumatized Gettemhult, eventually developing a severe case of Survivor Guilt believing that she was directly responsible for her sister's death. As a result, she began clinging to Gettemhult and became an Extreme Doormat as a way of coping with her personal failure. She ultimately learns to move on after having a chat with Ash (and a run-in with Dark Falz Elder, who survived getting hit by a Wave-Motion Gun).
    • Theodor is seen suffering some form of PTSD after Ulc is seemingly discovered dead, deluding himself into believing that she's still alive out there despite her apparent death. He eventually also becomes Ax-Crazy and begins to seek mindless revenge against the Darkers, a trait that Luther easily exploits for his advantage. It isn't until Ulc returns to confront him during the climax of EPISODE 2 that Theodor manages to recover.
  • 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.


Alternative Title(s): Phantasy Star Online 2

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