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It's a whole new world... Ours.note 
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Developed as the 8th project as part of the 15th anniversary celebration of the original Phantasy Star Online, Phantasy Star Online 2: The Animation is an original 12-episode Slice of Life/Science Fiction anime based on the popular MMORPG Phantasy Star Online 2.

In the year 2016 AD, a new particle known as Ether was made known to the world, capable of lightning-fast data transfer unlike anything the world had seen. It is now 2027 AD, where from Ether the "Ethernet" was born, a revolution in internet technology where anyone, anywhere has access to high-speed internet. In the country of Japan, the operating system "ESC-A" introduced a massively multiplayer RPG known as Phantasy Star Online 2, which is now a national phenomenon played by youth to old. Itsuki Tachibana, an average high school student with no interest in the so-called "PSO2", is suddenly dragged into the world of online games when the Student Council President, Rina Izumi, recruits him to prevent the banning of PSO2 on Seiga Academy school grounds. However, the game's rising popularity has also brought with it a rise in mysterious disappearances that are resolved as fast as they occur. What connection do they have with Phantasy Star Online 2, and how is the strange transfer student Aika Suzuki linked to the darkness on the horizon?

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The anime ran on Japanese television between January 7th, 2016 and March 31st, 2016 as part of the Winter 2016 Anime season. An official English subtitled broadcast was launched by Crunchyroll on January 9th, 2016 and ran through April 1st, 2016. It was licensed for an English release by Sentai Filmworks (much to the dismay of those still waiting for the game, at least for three more years).

Now has a character sheet in progress.

If you're looking for the direct adaptation of Phantasy Star Online 2, go to Phantasy Star Online 2: Episode Oracle.


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Phantasy Star Online 2: The Animation provides examples of:

  • A-Cup Angst: The Episode 5 outro card shows Tiea as having this toward her bustier twin, Patty.
  • Aborted Arc: The Phantoms are mentioned off-handedly once or twice, but are ultimately never dealt with and don't appear in the scope of the show; their mention only serves to confirm the ties between the show and the game.
  • Action Prologue: The very beginning of Episode 1 kicks off with Itsuki and a multiparty mowing down waves of Darkers set to a mix of the Mining Base Defense theme, culminating in a battle between Itsuki and Dark Vibrace.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • No one calls their attacks throughout the show. However, they are using real attacks from the game, but since no one ever mentions them, the viewer has to have at least a little knowledge of the existing Photon Arts to know what attacks are what.
    • How are you supposed to know that Itsuki's Gunslash and RINA's Twin Machineguns are named Radiant and Fray Fiora respectively? The show certainly never tells you.
  • Almost Kiss: At the end of the series, Itsuki is about to put his arm around Rina... then Aika suddenly reappears and startles him.
  • The Alternet: The Ethernet, which is virtually identical to real life internet, except powered by Ether particles.
  • Animation Bump:
    • Quna is more fluidly animated than either Itsuki or SORO at the end of Episode 2. It helps that it's a recreation of an existing event for the real game.
    • Everything looks nicer in Episode 9. Itsuki in particular gets bonus dramatic shots with increased detail.
  • Anime Hair: Almost completely averted for everyone in the real world. Aika sports two unusually long braided ponytails, but even then that isn't completely impossible. Played straight in PSO2, as in the real game. Just try properly replicating Matoi's hair.
  • The Anime of the Game: Of Phantasy Star Online 2.
  • Anime Theme Song: Unmatched Stargate for the opening, and Rare Drop KOI Koi! One More! for the ending, performed by Halko Momoi and M-A-O.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Ether particles, a mysterious type of particle discovered on Earth in the year 2016 AD. Even in the modern day, it is still unknown what Ether is or how it works, but it is capable of high-speed data transmission, which is used for the Ethernet, an advanced form of The Internet that utilizes Ether to achieve lightning-fast wireless communication anywhere on the globe. This service is maintained by ESC-A Towers, which are large, glowing spires built in numerous places across Earth for the purposes of dispersing Ether. Phantoms are also comprised of the same Ether that makes the Ethernet run.
  • As Himself: Marika Kouno, Riko Kohara, and Yurika Takagi, collectively known as the "Dark Falz Girls"note , all guest star as anime counterparts of themselves who go by First-Name Basis.
  • Attack Its Weakpoint: In Episode 1, SORO suggests this to Itsuki to take out a pesky Breeahda. He attempts to do so, but the Breeahda gets up too quickly and forces Itsuki to take a hit while charging his Photon Art.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The Council of Six, who are the highest-ranking members of the ARKS and among the most powerful.
    • Quna acts as Aika's direct superior, a Late Game Spoiler that she is the highest-ranking member OF The Council Of Six.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses:
    • Itsuki and SORO are shown doing this in a flashback in Episode 2.
    • Last Samurai and Kid get in on the action in Episode 3 while under fire from Dragonkin.
  • Battle Couple: Last Samurai and Yumiko are married in real life, but in PSO2, they're a badass action duo.
  • Battle in the Rain: At the climax of Episode 9, the fated battle between Itsuki and the boosted Goldrahda that had been haunting him for much of the episode occurs outside an Earth warehouse, where it starts pouring.
  • Beam-O-War: In a sequence very evocative of Mining Base Defense: Demise, Apprentice and a giant laser cannon manned by ARKS clash beams during Apprentice's assault on the Mining Bases. However, unlike Demise, Apprentice interrupts the opposing laser by blasting it with Frickin' Laser Beams. This cripples her.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Rockbear, a bear-like miniboss that fights with Good Old Fisticuffs. One traps SORO in a corner during Episode 2, but thankfully, Itsuki appears right on cue to bail him out.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • Averted, completely, of all things, with Phantasy Star Online 2 itself. The anime is not, like most other anime adaptations of a video game franchise, set within the real world of the game, instead being a story of players of the game, who end up involved in the narrative of the game itself between Episodes 3 and 4, with absolutely no attempts to pretend it's not the game.
    • The School name ("Seiga" Academy) is a allusion to SEGA name, the mascot of school seems to be Sonic the Hedgehog as noticied in many parts of school.
    • Amusingly, SEGA also does this to themselves; in Episode 6, the name "SEGO" can be seen on a chalkboard.
    • In Episode 8, Itsuki works in a Microsoft Word 2016 text editor, except it's called "World". Times New Roman is also called "Timely Roman".
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The "insectoid" type of Darker. This includes the Dagans, the weapon-wielding Goldrahdas, and even the big bad Dark Vibrace.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Happens with surprising frequency.
    • In Episode 1, SORO comes from behind to rescue a low-level Itsuki from an El Dagan with a conveniently-timed Impact Slider.
    • Itsuki later returns the favor in Episode 2 when SORO is captured by a Fungi and is unable to break himself out.
    • Zelsius Quna comes to Aika's aid in the nick of time when Darkers threaten her rescue of Mika.
    • When an El Ahda spawns from Itsuki's handheld console in Episode 8, Aika also jumps out of his console and saves him from impending doom.
    • Zeno gets in on the action with a Shot Mode Strezwei when Itsuki is captured by a boosted Goldrahda and surrounded by Dagans. Itsuki survives the ordeal, but it greatly shocks him.
    • In Episode 10, Matoi bails out Itsuki and Aika when a squad of boosted Predicahdas bumrushes them.
    • In Episode 11, Zeno shows up in the nick of time to distract Dark Falz Apprentice, so Aika and Itsuki can escape safely.
    • Also in Episode 11, Lilika comes to Itsuki's aid by a narrow margin, protecting him from a potentially deadly Dark Vibrace attack.
    • In the last Episode, Aika is cornered and out of strength attempting to protect herself while holding Florenberk's portal open. When a trio of Predichada attack, Matoi blasts them from nowhere and arrives to protect Aika.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Ranged weapons can use this as a weak point. Itsuki takes out a Breeahda this way by firing an Aiming Shot in its face.
  • Call-Back:
    • In Episode 1, a boy and a girl are seen playing PSO2 on handhelds, the boy having just killed a Vol Dragon. In Episode 5, the same two children are seen again on the bus, the girl having just killed a Guar Zigmorde.
    • In Episode 7, Rina finds Mika's notebook while Aika is ransacking Mika's room. When she opens it, she finds notes and articles on ankimo, which she mentioned was her favorite food back in Episode 1. It then hits her that she had been neglecting her friend to spend time with Itsuki, which causes her to slip into a brief Heroic BSoD.
    • In Episode 11, Aika cites Matoi being saved from the darkness as grounds for attempting to rescuing Rina from Dark Falz, referencing the ending of EPISODE 3 where Matoi was able to be saved through the efforts of the Player Character, Persona, and Clarissa excising Matoi of the Profound Darkness and transferring its being to Persona in her place.
  • Call-Forward:
    • Three people are shown in the intro with a different uniform to Seiga Academy. They're attendees of Tensei Academy, where you arrive in EPISODE 4.
    • The strange news reports in Episode 1 about a train and a car going out of control reference the Phantoms, an enemy type on PSO2's Tokyo field.
    • An ESC-A Tower is brought up when Rina explains the Ethernet to Itsuki.
    • In Episode 5, Patty and Tiea note the unusual rise in the number of ARKS, and Patty even refers to Itsuki as a "mysterious ARKS", echoing concerns Ulc mentions in PSO2: EPISODE 4 about a rise in a number of "unusual" ARKS.
  • The Cameo: Several major Phantasy Star Online 2 characters, like Quna, both in her idol and field designs, Patty and Tea, as well as Matoi in her Innocent Cluster appear as they do in the game.
  • Canon Welding: The animation initially seems to be that PSO2 is just a game that practically everyone in Seiga Academy is playing. Except for those really odd news reports of incidents that sound strangely similar to Phantoms...
    • Dialogue in the anime and game strongly imply that the events of the anime occur within the timeskip between Episodes 3 and 4.
  • Cassandra Truth: Itsuki is ahead of the game when he believes that people on Earth are being kidnapped and taken to PSO2. Alas, everyone else refuses to believe him except Aika, whose lips are tightly sealed regarding the situation. Thankfully, Itsuki's friends are caught up to speed when Kouta witnesses a Darker attack in action and relays Itsuki's debriefing to his pals.
  • Character Class System: PSO2 has one, consisting of nine classes: Hunter, Ranger, Force, Fighter, Gunner, Techer, Braver, Bouncer, and Summoner. Each player is able to switch classes freely at the Class Counter, which SORO does to level alongside Itsuki.
  • Continuity Nod: Patty and Tea claim they have a "contract" with someone as far as distributing information goes, that person likely being the Player Character.
  • Contrived Coincidence: When Itsuki uses the Randomizer in the Character Creator, the result it produces looks exactly like Itsuki, despite the fact that the chance of this actually happening is virtually none. He makes nothing of this and moves along.
    • Rina admits that in the creation of RINA, she also hit the Randomizer and also got a character that looked exactly like her.
    • In the latter half of the series, this uncanny resemblance takes a darker turn when first Itsuki, then Rina, manifest Photon Arts by switching to those same avatars in the real world...
    • The anime has characters teleporting to and from everywhere without using Telepipes and Partner Cards are never brought up.
  • Cosplay: Many PSO2 fans go to ARKS Fan Festa dressed as their characters. When Aika figures this out, she changes into an exact replica of her avatar to "blend in" a little. However, unlike the cosplayers, Aika can manifest Photon weaponry. since it's NOT a replica of her avatar.
  • Creator Cameo: In Episode 10, an anime version of Phantasy Star series producer Satoshi Sakai appears in the school festival.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Rina is held this way in Apprentice Gia's core.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max:
    • Probably the most blatant example: In the Action Prologue, Aika throws a Talis card and casts Zondeel, which holds down a bunch of running Goldrahdas. In-game, Goldrahdas that are running are completely immune to the effects of Zondeel (or any movement-restricting actions like Gravity Bomb, for that matter).
    • Egregious in Episode 2, where Dagans start firing projectiles at SORO. They cannot do this in-game.
    • A lot of Photon Arts do things they can't do in gameplay. For example, in Episode 3, Fudou Kuchinashi manages to freeze enemies in midair. While it does have an Area of Effect, it can't normally ignore basic physics.
    • In Episode 5, Aika leaps into the air to save a Lillipan who has been caught in an explosion from a malfunctioning robot enemy. The preceeding event is a real emergency trial that can occur in-game, but in-game, as soon as the robot explodes, the trial is failed, and the Lillipan simply disappears (though with an implication that it somehow survived despite your failure).
    • In Episode 11, Lillika grapples Dark Vibrace's bomb and throws it back at it.
  • Damsel in Distress: Mika Konoe in Episode 7. Rina gets the short end of the stick at least twice in this department.
  • Death from Above: In the Action Prologue, Musashi uses Ilfoie on a group of Goldrahdas trapped by a Zondeel.
  • Deconstruction:
    • Episode 3 deconstructs the concept behind internet Trolls by presenting one as an Extreme Doormat who acted tough online because he felt like he couldn't act that way in real life.
    • The entirety of Aika's role is a deconstruction of "what would happen if a video game character was in the real world".
  • Deep-Immersion Gaming: Most events that take place in-game are depicted as real interactions between the characters in-game as if they were the characters themselves. It's later revealed in Phantasy Star Online 2 that this is actually a property of possessing Level 1 Ether potential, which enables them to "dive" into PSO2 and experience it through their avatar.
    • Itsuki, Rina and Aika all use avatars that resemble themselves. When Aika 'cosplays' as her PSO2 self, it's revealed as not an accident...
  • Demonic Possession: Dark Falz Apprentice's ultimate goal is to possess an Earthling and merge with its main body to invade the Earth's dimension.
  • Demoted to Extra: SORO. After Rina decides to play another character starting from Episode 5, SORO only appears in the opening, Episode 6, and briefly in the final episode.
  • Distant Finale: The final scenes of the show take place several months ahead of Apprentice's defeat, at the end of the school year. This also places the ending in parallel with EPISODE 4.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In the preview for Episode 6, Tiea tells Patty that they're not going to be in the Hot Springs Episode, at which point Patty spoils her plan to use her sexy body to extract information from people.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Shouta Aoi, Itsuki's CV, sings the opening song. Ayaka Suwa and Mao Ichimichi, the voices for Rina and Aika, sing the ending theme.
  • Does Not Like Men: Riko, Marika, and Yurika are very vocal about their distaste of men, especially Itsuki, who they perceive as taking advantage of Aika.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • In a cross-media sense. In Episode 5, Itsuki notes how lifelike the NPCs are in PSO2, which Rina attributes to the game's advanced programming, although it wouldn't come to her that PSO2 is linked to another dimension.
    • Also used in-universe. In Episode 6, Masaya declares his intent on meeting up with his online friend, OrgaCats, in real life. After he leaves, Itsuki realizes that he was talking about the OrgaCats, who he found out was a male laborer in Episode 2, and chuckles awkwardly at the realization.
  • Dynamic Entry: In Episode 10, Itsuki and Rina are peacefully taking out the trash while chatting it up. A boosted Predicahda suddenly bursts out of Rina's PC, charges through window of the student council office, and then flies for about a kilometer before attacking Rina and Itsuki.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Meta-wise, The Animation debuted the new logo to be used for the game come Episode 4, before Episode 4 had launched.
    • Hitsugi Yasaka and Kōri from the main game appear in the opening and two Episodes. Hitsugi's brother, Enga Yasaka, also appears in Episode 5.
    • Quna appears as part of an in-game concert event at the end of Episode 2, although she does not make her official debut.
  • Elaborate University High: Seiga Academy is pretty decked out. Not only is it gigantic, as shown via an overview of the school, it's also pretty advanced.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Darkers, beings of unknown quantity and substance that spread across the universe with the intent to destroy and can only be eliminated by the ARKS, who wield Photon weaponry capable of permanently defeating Darkers. They also essentially serve as Dark Falz's ground troops.
  • Eldritch Location: The inside of Dark Falz Apprentice.
  • Evolving Credits: After Episode 5, the shot of SORO meeting with Itsuki in the opening replaces SORO with RINA, and the footage of the Action Prologue is replaced with entirely new footage showcasing all of the PSO2 characters.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Itsuki meets some of his in-game friends in the real world at a PSO2 fan convention. He is quite surprised to find that Last Samurai and Yumiko are actually a married couple, the quiet and stoic Silver is actually a young and hyperactive girl; and the Hot-Blooded Kid is actually a kindly old man.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: In Episode 8, Itsuki narrowly survives taking a full force fireball to the face from a Vol Dragon via the random activation of his Super Mode. His shiny new Gunslash then proceeds to generate an Over End so large, it covers half the cavern he's in, and he brings it down on the Vol Dragon. The Vol Dragon is incinerated nearly cleanly in two, and collapses, both halves of his interior still glowing with the heat of the attack, without despawning.
  • Fan Disservice: In-universe. In Episode 6, Rina asks if Koa is in the Team Room, to which he replies "yes". He suddenly gets the idea that she'll change into a bath towel outfit, and jumps for joy at the thought. She arrives as SORO instead. Koa is completely unamused.
  • Female Gaze: Episode 11 treats viewers to a shot of Zeno's very chiseled, naked body while he's recovering from his battle with Dark Falz Apprentice.
  • Final Boss: At the end of Episode 11, Dark Falz Apprentice Gia bursts out of the depths of Lillipa and transforms for the final battle.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The show drops a few hints about it being a Stealth Prequel to Phantasy Star Online 2: EPISODE 4.
    • The repeated use of the signature riff from the Mining Base Defense theme hints towards the significance of Dark Falz Apprentice, the boss of Mining Base Defense: Demise.
    • At the end of Episode 4, Aika is seen eliminating a Dagan that appeared in a warehouse behind the convention center where the ARKS Fan Festa 2027 was being held.
    • The scene of Itsuki generating a massive ray of light from his weapon in the opening is the only hint to Stargazer, the Photon Art Itsuki uses to destroy Dark Falz Apprentice in the final episode.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Rina and Itsuki first met as children when Itsuki found her hiding under a playground slide when she was forgotten in a game of hide-and-seek. Itsuki doesn't remember this, but Rina does.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • It goes by too fast to notice normally, but the third pattern of glowing red eyes that appears in the opening clearly belongs to Dark Falz Apprentice Gia.
    • Blink and you'll miss it, but the opening shows Aika wielding a Baton.
    • In Episode 1, if you're a quick enough eye, you may notice that the character on-screen in the Character Creator before Itsuki used the All Random function is the HUmar from Phantasy Star Online.
    • In Episode 10, when Yumiko uppercuts Last Samurai for fawning over the French maid outfits, there's just a handful of frames where it shows her delivering a Groin Attack simultaneously.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: As is Falz tradition, Apprentice Gia enjoys them. Unlike her Demise incarnation, which only gets a Wave Motion Gun, her true form gains the ability to blast laser storms Macross Missile Massacre style at her foes.
  • Funny Background Event: The anime often includes Fandom Nods towards typical playerbase behavior as these, such as one player performing a "Dance" Lobby Action in Episode 1, or a player standing behind a monitor over a teleporter in Episode 2.
  • Fusion Dance: The Compound Technics Zandion, Fomelgion, and Baranstion. Aika uses each once over the course of the series.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: This can be seen everywhere. Over half of everything accomplished in the PSO2 scenes cannot be performed by players of the actual game.
  • Genre Shift: Slice of Life suddenly turns action in the span of two episodes. Namely, Episodes 7 and 8.
  • G.I.R.L.:
    • Inverted: the big and boisterous SORO is played by Rina Izumi.
    • OrgaCats and Master Nezumi are played by men in real life. The look on Itsuki's face when he discovers this fact is absolutely priceless.
  • The Game Come to Life: A variant; both Darkers and Aika are travelling from PSO2 to Earth. The twist is that the world of PSO2 isn't actually a video game, it's just presented as one to Earthlings.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: After Itsuki gives Kouta a quick debriefing, Itsuki and Aika travel to the Mining Base to tackle Dark Falz Apprentice alone against ovewhelming odds. As it turns out, Kouta had spent the last few hours calling upon some of their real-world friends for help, and they intercept Itsuki and Aika en route to the Mining Base to provide some much-needed backup.
  • Green Hill Zone: Forest, a lush grassy area of Naberius where many Natives dwell. It's often the first stop for a starting player.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Rather coincidentally, most of the male PSO2 characters except Musashi and SORO all use physical weapons; Koa uses Twin Daggers, Kid uses Knuckles, etc. Likewise, most of the female characters except Aika, OrgaCats, and Master Nezumi use ranged weapons; Silva uses Assault Rifles and RINA uses Twin Machineguns. However, SORO, OrgaCats, and Master Nezumi are unusual cases because their players are of the opposite gender. Itsuki plays with this, since Gunslashes are a Strike/Range hybrid.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Itsuki, Rina, and Aika cleave Dark Falz Apprentice in two with an even more powerful version of the Over End Photon Art, Star Gazer.
  • Healing Potion: Mates, orally consumed drinks that heal a certain amount of HP depending on its quality. Aika gives a Monomate to Kouta in Episode 4 to help him feel better. Itsuki also consumes one in Episode 9, which instantly heals the bruise he sustained last episode.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Itsuki has a minor one where he stops submitting his PSO2 reports after being lectured by SORO in Episode 2. He gets better once he pulls a Big Damn Heroes on SORO in Forest (Hard).
    • Rina slips into one when she realizes that she was ignoring her friend Mika so she could help out Itsuki. Itsuki and Kouta help her snap out of it.
    • When Itsuki's overconfidence in fighting a boosted Goldrahda gets the better of him, it leads to a near-death experience that he only narrowly avoids with Zeno and Echo's intervention. The event leaves a deep emotional scar on him that haunts him for most of the episode until he's forced to face his fear after Aika encourages him.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Episode 8 reveals that many of the bad things happening are the result of (yet again) another Dark Falz, who is using Darkers to seek out Earthlings that possess high Photon affinity. By kidnapping these Earthlings, it hopes to use one as a vessel to manifest itself and invade Earth. Casra, Quna, and Aika have been working behind the scenes to thwart Dark Falz's plans, and now Itsuki needs to be in on it as well.
  • High School: The majority of real-world scenes revolve around Seiga Academy, the school Itsuki and his friends attend. They are sister schools with the neighboring Tensei Academy, where Hitsugi and her friends can be found.
  • Ho Yay: In-Universe; the outro card for Episode 3 shows Marika, Riko, and Yurika imagining Itsuki and Yutaka hooking up in classic shoujo manga fashion. Neither of them are amused.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Episode 6 involves the Seiga student council taking an annual field trip to an onsen to take a load off. It's a break for everyone except Itsuki, anyway, because his increasing play time in PSO2 has started dropping his grades, so he is forced to catch up while everyone else has fun.
  • How We Got Here: The show returns to the Action Prologue after 11 episodes of revealing the circumstances up to that point.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Episodes are known as "Quests".
  • Image Song: Try to take me again and Star Quality Twins, character songs for Zeno and Patty/Tea respectively, are used as background tracks in Episode 4.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Played for Laughs. During the preview for Episode 2, Itsuki is talking to Rina about SORO, who despite him seeing them as helpful, thinks that SORO is also a little overbearing and a pain, eventually mentioning the player of SORO is probably a busybody as well. Itsuki then sees Rina (who plays SORO) getting irritated and asks what's wrong, prompting her to yell at him.
    • Played more seriously in Episode 3, when Itsuki deduces out loud in-game that the notorious troll Musashi is actually his classmate Yutaka Sasaki. Yutaka's panicked reaction and logging out causes other players to start believing Itsuki to be a troll.
    • Once again in Episode 5, with Rina saying they should be thankful to the Darkers for bringing people together. Aika proceeds to get angry and seethes about how the Darkers have harmed and killed so many before catching herself.
  • Insert Song:
    • Our Fighting is performed by Quna (Eri Kitamura) in Episode 2 when Itsuki and SORO attend a Live Concert.
    • An Idol Singer performs Neverending Story offscreen in Episode 4 when Itsuki and Rina go to an ARKS Fan Festa. Several other songs can also be heard periodically, such as Star Quality Twins.
  • Instant Costume Change: In Episode 7, Itsuki undergoes this briefly when he hits a temporary Super Mode state that boosts his power to staggering levels.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device: Phantasy Star Online 2.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: The boosted El Ahda from Episode 7, which No Sells any attack against it. When Mika realizes that fighting it is hopeless, she bails by logging out... except it still gets her anyway, because it emerges from her game console and attacks her.
  • It Was Here, I Swear!: In Episode 6, when Last Samurai sneaks out to play PSO2, Darker particles start coming out of his handheld console, and a loud scream is heard; when Yumiko, Itsuki, and Rina check on him, his handheld console has a big crack in the center, and he claims Darkers attacked him — but he also had beer with him, which leads everyone to believe he was just hitting the sauce. Scene cut to Aika blowing up said Darkers in an adjacent forest.
  • Kill It with Fire: In Episode 2, Itsuki sets a Rockbear ablaze with a Thrillsplosion.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Humans captured by the Darkers and transported to the ARKS' dimension have no recollection of ever travelling there or how they got there in the first place when they return.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler:
    • Quna being the mysterious blue-haired girl is pretty much a dead secret by this point, as she nonchalantly transforms on-screen in Episode 11.
    • Matoi's info card in Episode 10 all but spoils the entirety of the climatic ending to EPISODE 3, which plays a major role in setting up EPISODE 4 and the anime's plot.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: PS Vita-like consoles are often seen in the hands of PSO2 players, albeit with distinct design changes, and using stock footage of the game itself, to avoid invoking a Console Cameo.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: In Episode 9, Aika is forced to protect a shell-shocked Itsuki from a boosted Goldrahda that had once tried to kill him and then followed him to Earth to finish the job. When Aika promises to protect Itsuki no matter the odds, he responds in turn by shoving a Gunslash bullet into the Goldrahda's face while giving off one hell of a Death Glare.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Volcanoes, a rocky, volcanic region of Amduscia populated by the Hi clan of Dragonkin. Many players can expect Convection Smonvection and hostile, weapon-wielding Dragonkin.
  • Lighter and Softer: Probably the lightest and softest work to bear the Phantasy Star name. This lasts until its mid-season Cerebus Syndrome hits and the plot begins to thicken.
  • Little "No": Itsuki, when Rina gets kidnapped at the end of Episode 10.
  • Male Gaze: RINA's introduction has rather gratuitous butt and breast shots.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: In Episode 9, the Super Mode that Itsuki received in Episode 7 becomes permanent when he becomes an ARKS, turning it into this.
    • Episode 10 also bestows upon Rina her own upgrade when she gains her ARKS form on Earth. Not that it helps much, since she gets kidnapped almost immediately afterwards. She later gets to use it when Itsuki rescues her from Dark Falz Apprentice and transforms for the last stretch.
  • Mini-Mecha: In the final episode, Casra rounds up a squadron of auto-piloted ARKS Interception Silhouettes, or A.I.S., to protect the Mining Bases. Apprentice Gia nukes them almost immediately.
  • Mistaken for Romance: Thanks to Aika's insistence on stalking Itsuki, rumors have started circulating that, among other things, Itsuki and Aika are dating.
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: Itsuki's Weapon of Choice is Gunslashes, combination swords and handguns. Later literally becomes this when he gains Radiant, a Gunslash that can also perform as a Sword.
    • Rina's Twin Machineguns can combine into an Assault Rifle.
  • Meaningful Background Event: During the part of Episode 1 where Itsuki is giving his internal monologue about how normal he is, his voice is talking over a group of girls discussing news reports of unusual overnight vehicle incidents, hinting towards the existence of the Phantoms the ARKS come into contact with in 2028.
  • Medium Blending: The show largely utilizes traditional animation for real-world segments, but shifts to anime-styled CGI when inside PSO2 to give off that effect of looking at a video game. On occasion, actual game footage is used, such as in Episode 6, when Mika is seen running Black Territory Exploration.
  • Mood Whiplash: Episode 7 features a high-tension battle sequence with high stakes and the appearance of Zelsius Quna. The moment the action ceases, Koa appears, and upon seeing Aika, he calls out to her to thank her for the Monomate from Episode 4, complete with a twirling dance, colorful background, and sparkles.
  • Mook Maker: Breeahdas, who can spawn El Dagans by conjuring seeds from Darker particles. One particular Breeahda gives Itsuki a world of trouble in Episode 1 when he's still fresh and doesn't quite know how to play.
  • Multicolored Hair: Aika's braids become dark violet after she uses Florenberk to absorb the remnants of Dark Falz Apprentice.
  • Multishot: Yumiko uses Master Shot in the Action Prologue, which fires five Bullet Bow arrows concentrated on a single target.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: When Kouta is about to put his hand on Aika's shoulder in Episode 2, she notices and quickly begins punching Kouta until he guards, at which point she stops right in front of his arms. This is accompanied by a brief, high-intensity background track and a visible shockwave that generates a generous amount of wind.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The default H Umar skin shown before Itsuki chooses his actual skin is Ash, the default appearance from the first game.
    • The cut-out of Quna that Yurika, Marika, and Riko use to promote their maid cafe in Episode 9 is the same image that is used to promote the real life Phantasy Star Online 2 x Sweets Paradise collaboration event.
    • Quna performs a concert as Itsuki and company rush to the final battle. In the actual game, a Dark Falz boss always appears about ten minutes or so after Quna's concert ends.
    • The Wave Motion Gun used against Apprentice in Episode 11 emerges in an identical manner to the Mining Base Defense: Demise Quest, with the exact same camera angles.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: When Casra busts out their Wave Motion Gun to use against Apprentice Gia, Apprentice and the cannon clash beams. It then decides to blow it up with lasers while it's occupied. It succeeds in destroying it and throwing off the laser's aim, but this causes it to slice straight through Apprentice Gia's wing and damage it, grounding it permanently.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Yumiko sorta looks like a classic Japanese Space Pirate. Averted for Last Samurai, who cuts out the Space Pirate bit.
  • No-Sell: In Episode 7, an El Ahda becomes boosted, allowing it to negate all of Lilika's attacks against it. It then proceeds to chase Mika to Earth and kidnaps her.
  • Off-Model: Dark Falz Apprentice is rather disproportionately drawn in the opening compared to her in-game counterpart.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: In Episode 11, the Action Prologue is shown again, except now everyone is voiced and Our Fighting replaces the background track.
  • One-Hit Polykill: In Episode 3, Silva nails two Dragonkin at once with a single Penetrating Bullet.
  • One-Winged Angel: Apprentice Gia hits it by merging with the essence of Dark Falz Apprentice housed within Rina, bursting from the depths of Lillipa and sprouting wings not unlike Dark Falz Elder.
  • Only Known By Their Online Handle: Anyone that isn't part of the main cast is only referred to by their character name from PSO2, such as Last Samurai and Kid. It's a wonder why no one asks for their real names.
  • Original Generation: 95% of the primary cast, especially the real world characters.
  • Overrated and Underleveled: SORO. Justified, as he had just switched classes in order to show Itsuki the ropes.
  • Player Character: Many characters in the series have a Digital Avatar that they use to play with the main character, Itsuki, in some way, shape, or form. Also, the real Player Character, as in, the one controlled by you, is referred to often by NPCs, and at the time of the plot is currently undergoing a Time Skip via Cold Sleep.
  • Pokémon Speak: Lillipans speak in "Li!"s. It's technically possible to learn it, as demonstrated by one particular NPC RAcaseal.
  • P.O.V. Sequel: The anime focuses on the Phantasy Star Online 2 story from the Earthlings' point of view, during a Time Skip where The Protagonist, the Player Character, is recovering from his/her battle with the Profound Darkness.
  • Product Placement:
    • It can be seen that some of the computers are Alienware branded. In real life, Alienware sponsors Phantasy Star live events.
    • While the operating system "ESC-A" is fictional, its design is almost identical to Windows 10.
    • Several UFO Catchers can be seen in several episodes.
    • The final episode has the cast heading down to Sweets Paradise, a Japanese restaurant and cake bar chain that is collaborating with Phantasy Star for Phantasy Star Online's 10th anniversary.
    • The anime have many referencies for SEGA games like Sonic the Hedgehog or House of the Dead for exemple
  • Punny Name: "Seiga" Academy sounds a lot like SEGA.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: A variant; Rina's disarming smile and pleading face is enough to disarm anyone, be it guy or girl. She and Itsuki take advantage of this "ability" by using it to convince clubs to join the cultural festival after-party. When Kouta comes by and complains about not getting to see Rina's puppy-dog face too, Itsuki does it for him, which he complains is creepy.
  • Rain of Arrows: Yumiko, being a Bullet Bow wielder, uses Torrential Arrow on a group of Dragonkin in Episode 3.
  • Random Number God: Everyone's favorite attendant, Dudu, who handles Grinding and Affixing at the Item Lab. These mechanics are based entirely on chance, which, considering how often he screws up, makes him the target of many players' frustrations. The Info Dump on the Item Lab references this hate.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Darkers sport this color scheme.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Darkers, naturally. Lots of them appear in the opening, signified by a myriad of glowing red eyes. Dark Falz Apprentice in particular has tons all on its own.
  • Red Herring: In Episode 4, Kouta wanders into the middle of a dark warehouse. A strange ringing sound is heard, and Kouta experiences a sharp pain, then suddenly vanishes, only leaving his phone behind... because of a stomachache. Aika gave him a Monomate earliernote , but it didn't react well with him, causing a fit of sudden bowel movement to force him to abandon his phone for the restroom. However, there was something there, it simply didn't involve Kouta.
  • Red Is Heroic: Zeno and Echo sport it with their Cry Savior and Magia Savior outfits, respectively. Matoi also wears some red to blend with her white.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Rappies, the local Mascot Mook. Lillipans are also pretty darn cute, especially the one that appears in Episode 5.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After Itsuki barely avoids death at the claws of a pack of Darkers, the sight of the boosted Goldrahda that he couldn't kill causes him to fly into a rage, wildly swinging at thin air while the Goldrahda dodges all of his attacks. This puts him in deep peril again, and he's only saved when Aika intervenes.
  • Runaway Train: In Episode 1, a background character mentions a news report of an unmanned train suddenly going out of control in the middle of the night without witnesses or human incident. A rather eerie Call-Forward to the train-type Phantom enemy, Train Ghidoran.
  • Scenery Gorn: The City Area in PSO2, which has been devastated by Darker attacks.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • Seabed, as usual, is always a treat for the eyes whenever it's a setting.
    • In Episode 9, the overview shot of the Oracle fleet is absolutely gorgeous.
  • Serious Business: Phantasy Star Online 2 is so widespread, one of Seiga Academy's student council's primary functions is to submit reports relating to it. This is to help the academy formulate an idea about the students' social environs and thus figure out the most viable way of interacting with its population. In fact, playing PSO2 is literally the student council vice president's only job.
    • This stems from Rina's belief that PSO2 stands at the forefront of a communication technology revolution, being ubiquitous in modern culture thanks to its being pre-loaded on all new computers using an advance version of the internet. She also seeks to keep the Seiga Academy staff from banning PSO2 from campus, believing that the game does not negatively affect student performance and that such a ban would constitute a grave violation of privacy.
  • Sequel Hook: The final scene is an ARKS Ship materializing just outside the Moon, a reference to EPISODE 4 Chapter 2 when Sierra transports an ARKS Ship to the outer reaches of Earth to support Hitsugi, and it could very well be the same ship...
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Itsuki and Rina pull this off when meeting their PSO2 friends at the ARKS Fan Festa. No one is convinced.
    • Again in Episode 5, between Aika and Itsuki. Itsuki once again fails to convince anyone about the truth.
    • In Episode 8, Itsuki begins stalking Aika under suspicion that she might be from PSO2. However, not only do circumstances (and Aika herself) continuously get in his way, bystanders are convinced that he's chasing her because he's in love, which he profusely denies. It even starts pissing Rina off. Thankfully, Itsuki's able to clear the air in Episode 10.
    • Even ahead of the final fight, Itsuki's friends insist that Itsuki's driven because of his love for Rina. They don't pay any mind to his protests.
  • Shout-Out: Each episode has at least one to a SEGA property.
    • The fountain at the center of Seiga Academy is in the shape of Sonic the Hedgehog's head, which is also the logo of Sonic Team, the developers behind many Phantasy Star titles.
    • A statue of Alex Kidd is the centerpiece of Seiga Academy's indoor hot spring.
    • Marika, Riko, and Yurika give Aika the nickname of "Aiai".
    • In Episode 4, one quick shot has a booth labelled "NiGHTS Entertainment" with NiGHTS' silhouette backing the banner.
    • When Rina is at a shooting gallery to get dolls of MAGs, two of the available dolls on display include Sonic the Hedgehog and Carbuncle. This is also a reference to there being collaboration events in PSO2 that feature such SEGA characters.
    • Plush dolls of Reala are shown in a UFO Catcher that Aika plays to win a Lillipan doll.
    • In Episode 6, a UFO Catcher is seen with plushies of Sonic and numerous Puyo inside.
    • In Episode 8, a mall is flying banners proudly proclaiming "TowerView DreamTown" accompanied by the Dreamcast logo.
    • Yutaka is a huge SEGA fan.
      • Yutaka's room has posters of the Sega Hard Girls on his wall. A later shot in the same episode also shows large posters of Virtua Fighter and House of the Dead III on another wall.
      • Yutaka has an image of Miles "Tails" Prower on the back of his smartphone.
      • In Episode 8, he shows up wearing a full body Sonic suit.
  • Situational Sword: Generally, surges of extreme emotion or times of crisis are needed for Earthlings to awaken as ARKS.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: In the preview for Episode 4, Yutaka cheerfully lists off all the swear words that he has used in the past as Musashi, all of which are censored out with the anime's Assault Rifle shot sound effect. Itsuki checks to make sure they're censored.
  • Sound of No Damage: The "bounce" sound effect, which is played when an attack hits something that has no effect against it, such as shields and boosted Darkers.
  • Space Elves: Newmans, natch.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": For some reason, the official subbed broadcast insists Dark Falz has a "The" in front of it, even though it was never done this way in any Phantasy Star material, English or Japanese.
  • Status Buff: In Episode 9, Aika throws a Shifta Itsuki's way, which boosts his strength. This buff gives him the power needed to defeat a boosted Goldrahda that was otherwise Nigh Invulnerable.
  • Stealth Prequel: Although not advertised as such, it chronologically precedes Phantasy Star Online 2: EPISODE 4 by seven months.
  • Sucking-In Lines: Aiming Shot does this for its charge animation.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: In Episode 10, Rina, running purely on instinct and adrenaline, suddenly combines her Twin Machineguns into an Assault Rifle, despite never previously doing so or knowing that she could. Even in game, this is a skill unique to RINA.
  • Super Armor: In Episode 7, Itsuki uses Massive Hunter to charge his way through a crowd of Darkers. Unfortunately, he gets too close and is ambushed by Wand-wielding Goldradhas.
  • Super-Deformed: Characters appear this way in the next-episode previews.
  • Super Mode: Itsuki's blue-haired form in-game and in the real world.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: A young child gives Aika a small chocolate as thanks for helping her find her mother. Aika remarks that it tastes like a Photon Drink. Also counts as subtle foreshadowing as to her true origins.
  • Team Shot: The PSO2 counterparts of the cast appear this way at the end of the opening. Notably, there are 12 characters in the shot, the same number of players required for a full multiparty.
  • Tears of Blood: Rina is shown crying blood in the opening. This foreshadows her becoming a Dark Falz later in the series.
  • The Thing That Goes "Doink!": Kouta is shown having a miniature one in his dorm room in Episode 2. It makes its signature "doink" during a moment of awkward silence.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: In Episode 9, when Itsuki gets dangerous, he's accompanied by the opening riffs of the Mining Base Defense theme from the game.
  • Time Skip: The final scenes of the show take place in 2028, just after Rina's graduation and during the events of Phantasy Star Online 2: EPISODE 4, with the implication that the ship that dropped off Aika is the same ship the Player Character uses.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Explicitly averted. All prerelease information gave out zero plot details and only pulled footage from the first three episodes. The actual story behind the show beyond "a kid plays Phantasy Star Online 2" wasn't even known until the end of the second episode. And even then, the real plot doesn't start kicking in until over halfway through the series.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: During Episode 8, the El Ahda that was attacking Itsuki at the end of the episode conveniently decides to wait while Itsuki is transforming into his Super Mode.
  • Trapped in TV Land: The Darkers are kidnapping earthlings and pulling them into nests within PSO2 to use as vessels for Dark Falz.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Some of the Photon Arts, compared to the game. In the game, Aiming Shot is a stock PA for Gunslashes that just fires a big energy bullet. In the anime, it essentially becomes a gigantic laser blast with enough recoil to knock Itsuki off his feet. Also, Over End is a useful and powerful Sword PA, but in the anime, it's powerful enough to cleave a Vol Dragon in two.
    • Gunslashes themselves get this treatment: in the real game, Gunslashes are considered a Skill Gate Weapon that are rather mediocre later on, lacking the usefulness and power of other striking and ranged weapons. You wouldn't know it just from seeing Itsuki using them, though.
    • In the game, boosted enemies simply have increased stats, but come with a seed attached that act as a weak point. In the anime, boosted enemies block attacks most of the time, and have no seed, making them Nigh Invulnerable under normal circumstances.
    • Dark Falz Apprentice is much more threatening than her previous incarnations; Apprentice I only beat Klariskrays II by using meat shields, and Apprentice II wasn't actually a Dark Falz. This one is able to pin down both Aika and Itsuki with a laser storm, and is powerful enough to give Zeno a run for his money.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The show takes place in the year 2027, seven months before the Player Character awakens and arrives on Earth. Notably, there aren't that many technical advancements, causing it to largely resemble the present day.
  • Uncanny Valley: In-universe, this is what the ARKS perceive the video game players as, although they do not know that the "mysterious ARKS" are video game players from another dimension.
  • Under the Sea: The Seabed, a region of Vopal situated underneath its ocean. Strangely, most of the water is absent, making it just as habitable to people as it is to the local Oceanids.
  • Underground Level: Tunnels, a vast network of underground ruins beneath the surface of Lillipa. Mechs are a fairly common encounter, as well as Lillipans, the local alien race.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: In Episode 10, Matoi notes that Itsuki is a very powerful fighter, but cannot handle Photon Arts well, often leading to situations where he is unable to win fights easily because he doesn't have the skill needed to best his enemy.
  • Virtual Training Simulation: Extreme Quests, which reportedly take place in a environment that simulates battle by recreating enemy data. Aika claims to have cleared all four of them.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Just like Anime Hair, practically averted for pretty much everyone in the real world. The closest anyone gets to it is a nameless classmate of Itsuki's with magenta-reddish hair, and even that isn't too unnatural. Played completely straight in the PSO2 scenes, which is completely par for the course as it's everywhere in the actual game. Except for Itsuki, whose character coincidentally looks identical to him after using the randomizer.
  • You Will Not Evade Me: Zondeel. It is first seen in action in the Action Prologue when Aika uses it to hold down running Goldhradhas, and used in Episode 7 by Goldrahdas, who snag Itsuki before he can save Mika and set him up for a Vidoluda assault.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: In Episode 8, Itsuki finds Aika battling a Vol Dragon in PSO2, and when she damages its weak point, Itsuki moves in for the follow-up, but mistimes it and takes the brunt of a tail whip to the gut. Later on, when he's trying to find Aika in the real world, he cringes in pain from a gut wound. When he lifts his shirt up, he has a bruise from the tail whip he took from that Vol Dragon in the game.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Apprentice has one, and ARKS has a cannon that does the same. They do battle.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 7. It's revealed that Darkers are attacking Earth with the intention of kidnapping Earthlings, and PSO2 is revealed to be more than a normal video gamenote . It's also revealed that Aika is in cahoots with the legendary Council of Six, and is not at all from Earth. Itsuki also receives his Mid-Season Upgrade very briefly, which is revealed to be his alternate costume from the Action Prologue.
    • Episode 8. Itsuki finally gains near-total control of his fancy Mid-Season Upgrade and is able to gain access to it on Earth.
    • Episode 9. The true background behind the show is revealed: a yet-unknown Dark Falz incarnation is using Darkers to capture Earthlings with strong Photon-wielding capacity; it intends on using one as a host to manifest and invade Earth. Itsuki also officially becomes an ARKS member and teams up with Aika to tackle the impending threat.
    • Episode 10. In a moment of crisis, Rina gains the ability to manifest her own ARKS form on Earth, but is just as quickly captured by a squad of Darkers and taken to PSO2. Kouta also finds out about the Darker crisis when he witnesses the incident occur.
  • Wham Shot:
    • The end of Episode 4. Aika's costume change isn't just for show; she has all the same powers her PSO2 character does, and she uses it to exterminate Darkers that appeared on Earth.
    • Towards the end of Episode 6, Darker particles start spewing from a handheld device, revealing that ARKS aren't the only ones that can travel to Earth via PSO2...
    • In-universe, Mika's bandaged hand in Episode 7. It was previously thought that Mika went missing because Rina neglected her, but during her rescue in PSO2, Mika was attacked by a Goldrahda and was injured in her right hand. When Itsuki sees Mika's hand in the real world and finds that it's also injured, he makes the connection and realizes that something's definitely amiss with PSO2...
    • In Quest 8: Itsuki finding a bruise on his side from when he was attacked by the Vol Dragon, shortly before being accosted in the real world by two El Ahdas and his powers awakening...
    • Quest 11: Rina becoming the new Dark Falz Apprentice.
  • What Does This Button Do?: Mundane variant; in Episode 5, Aika pushes the "stop" button on a bus before knowing what it does. When she asks, Itsuki immediately explains it and tells the bus driver to dismiss the button.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: SORO, Koa, everyone in the same block as him, and even Rina give Itsuki flak for accidentally exposing Musashi's real identity.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The entire plot of the anime is essentially the plot of the Screen-to-Stage Adaptation, Phantasy Star Online 2: ON STAGE, with the characters changed (but voiced by almost the same people as the stage play) and certain plot threads altered to fit into the framework of a Stealth Prequel.
  • The Worf Effect
    • In Episode 10, Matoi pulls a Big Damn Heroes on Itsuki and Aika by nuking an entire squad of boosted Predicahda with Grants Technics, when the two of them combined could barely handle one.
    • In Episode 12, Aika explains that the ARKS Interception Silhouettes are the best anti-Darker weapons around. Shortly after their introduction, Dark Falz Apprentice Gia reduces them to scrap metal.
  • Written-In Absence: Despite appearing in the opening, Regius, Maria, Klaris Krays, and Huey do not appear in the show proper. An info card Hand Waves it as those characters being on their own missions during the story.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Rina is transformed into Dark Falz Apprentice before Itsuki or Aika can do anything about it, setting the scene for the show's finale.

Alternative Title(s): Phantasy Star Online 2

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