Examining the mirroring between Xenogears and Xenosaga
For most mirroring analysis I put the chart of Xenosaga on the left side and the chart of Xenogears on the right. Although the two works are not attached, the Xenosaga trilogy is set in an earlier point in the "Xenoverse" timeline. So this is how the chart tends to be displayed in my articles. Here it is also the result of a need to compare their story structures to discover how Xenosaga was originally intended to be written, and so the focus tend to be on Xenosaga's story structure rather than Xenogears since we learn more about Xenosaga this way than we learn about Xenogears.
One purpose of this analysis is to show how Xenosaga follows the direction and style of Xenogears, and thus why it is the only worthy sequel to the legendary Xenogears (at least in terms of story) thus far. Among Xeno fans there will often be a difference of opinion which of the two is the better series. Or that some other series altogether is more similar to one of the two than they are each other. But is one of the two really superior or all that different to the other? Or is this merely the subjective, biased and emotional opinions of passionate fans lacking solid arguments to back it up?
* This article will obviously contain spoilers if you have not played through both Xenogears and the Xenosaga series.
Both stories begin by kicking things off in a compelling way by posing questions that compel answers. What you first see after firing up your "New Game" is an intriguing promise of a special and rewarding experience ahead.
Both stories begin with a cinematic movie that takes place thousands of years in the past. Note the inverted mirroring: Xenogears opens in space while the main story takes place on an Earth-like planet; Xenosaga opens on Earth while the main story takes place out in the vast universe.
Then, the mirroring between Xenosaga and Xenogears' opening movie continues further into Xenosaga's set-up:
While they corrected 'You' and changed it to 'Ye' in the U.S. localization, in the Japanese version it says 'You shall be as gods' just like in Xenogears. However, this is not a reference to Xenogears. Just as the phrase alluded to Genesis in Xenogears, so does the phrase allude to Genesis in Xenosaga.
This bit shows how Mary's consciousness inside KOS-MOS starts to manifest. Similar to this, "exon replacement" is stated in Xenogears: Perfect Works to be the same phenomenon as that of the 'Original Elhaym' awakening into 'Miang'. Nephilim, who is a "remake" of Elly, shows up inside KOS-MOS' Encephalon just as Elly and Miang are two separate consciousnesses inside Persona. The music when KOS-MOS later awakens during the Inciting Incident is also very similar to the music playing when Deus awakens during these scenes.
The first Act - Introducing the hero
As with any classic narrative the hero enters the story early, long before the arrival of the Inciting Incident, as we need to see the hero in his/her pre-Incident life. This is Act I, also known as the set-up. A notable difference is how Xenosaga is all cinematic with credits of the staff in the intro for Act I, while Xenogears has four pages of prologue text as if it were a novel.
|Act I - set-up||Act I - set-up|
Introducing the Hero.
Ends with the place being annihilated.
Introducing the Hero.
Ends with the place being annihilated.
Woglinde and Lahan are both the starting stages of the story, manipulated by forces to be caught in the middle of a conflict, and are ultimately annihilated. They are both situated far from the major capitals of their respective settings - Solaris and Fifth Jerusalem - which are also mirrored early in what I refer to as Act III. Other settings are also mirrored like this. It can further be said that the hero is the one who is ultimately responsible for the phenomenon that led these places to destruction: Fei unleashed Id unknowingly, and Shion unleashed the Gnosis into the real domain unknowingly in the past.
Note that both KOS-MOS and Shitan take orders from masked person: Red Testament and Emperor Cain.
|Allen is in love with hero.||
Aruru is in love with hero.
Allen and Aruru
For the most part, Allen doesn't really mirror any Xenogears characters. He is a unique element to Xenosaga. However, the inspiration for his character was clearly Aruru (Alice). Although Aruru ended up being an early casualty in Xenogears, she was originally considered to be part of the story, following Fei around after he leaves Lahan. Allen follows Shion around for their entire story arc. So, in that respect, I guess Allen mirrors Aruru. Their names are also similar, especially if you read their names in Japanese.
In both Xenogears' and Xenosaga's set-up there is a sense of impending change. In fact, it isn't just the Inciting Incident that is foreshadowed, major events of the story to come are also foreshadowed and, like some of the best foreshadowing in literature or cinema, it is not always recognized as foreshadowing when it occurs. The scene where Shitan shows the music box to Fei has so much foreshadowing in it that it almost tells the entire story right there. Although I don't know if it was intentional, the decoration inside the box resembles the Zohar, and the angel in front of it is later in Shevat heavily implied to be a statue of Sophia. You see the same statue outside Aphel Aura and a woman in Shevat's dungeon says to Elly:
Excuse me... Miss... You resemble the girl who was like an angel, and was sacrificed in the great war... I can picture Zephyr and the followers' confusion.
The imagery is fitting, since Elly was created inside the Kadomony inside Zohar and advented to the Earth from there. In Xenosaga we have the dream/vision Shion has of Rennes-Le-Château on Lost Jerusalem, with the silhouette of chaos making an appearance in addition to Nephilim and the Original Zohar. Like the music box scene in Xenogears this scene also foreshadows the entire story of the hero; such as her being "the Maiden," as well as her link to Zohar (and also U-DO behind "the door" or window that is Zohar).
The ripple effect on the Zohar relates to the motif and imagery of waves in the story, such as the white ash-colored beach and the spreading of ripples that will impact and possibly change the future. Xenogears has a thematic imagery of "broken shards," as the poem about a broken mirror alludes to in-game (if you play the music box tune "Distant Promise" in Shevat and talk to the man in the bar you'll understand this) and you'll notice how shards start flying by when the music box starts playing here. So Xenogears has a thematic imagery of "broken shards," while Xenosaga has a thematic imagery of waves and ripples, and both relates to humanity.
When entering a battle with an enemy the screen turns into a wave.
When entering a battle with an enemy the screen turns into broken shards.
A storm is coming
The pace and focus of the scenes in both works at this point are beginning to unfold in context to - and pointed at - the Inciting Incident. There's a sense of foreboding and shifting winds that starts to accelerate to the point at which everything suddenly changes. In Xenosaga this happens as KOS-MOS starts to activate and the Gnosis appear, and in Xenogears this happens as night falls, the ground starts shaking, and Fei watches as "Giants" head for Lahan village.
The Inciting Incident is the point where the story really begins. It is the moment when something enters the story in a manner that affects the hero's status and plans and beliefs, forcing her or him to take action in response, and inherent to that moment is the call for the hero to do something they weren't doing before. For Xenogears and Xenosaga I have chosen to cover the entire scenario up to leaving Lahan and Woglinde behind as the first plot point, even though it is actually just the hero's unforeseen entanglement with Weltall and KOS-MOS respectively that is the actual Inciting Incident or first plot point since Gears and Gnosis are already known to exist in the world, so their arrival does not come totally unexpected.
Although KOS-MOS is technically an ally (as is the role of Weltall), I apply the term "antagonistic force" to KOS-MOS the same way Weltall serves as an antagonistic force (after destroying the village) in the beginning of the story. From the point of view of the hero, nothing is the same from that moment forward. Their world has been turned upside down by KOS-MOS/Weltall, and they are not happy about that. So, in that sense, I apply the term "antagonistic force" to KOS-MOS and Weltall, even though Grahf and the Gnosis are regarded as the primary antagonistic forces.
Anyway, this is the bridge between Act I and Act II, meaning everything that came before this incident was a set-up for it, and everything that comes after is a response to it. Even though KOS-MOS was already in the story during the set-up, what happens here makes her darker and more deadly, thus forcing Shion to take action. Because something important to Shion is now out of her control. This is classic story architecture in full glory.
There's no turning back now. The story has opened a dramatic can of worms, and our protagonists are in the thick of it. We're now entering Act II, where the fun really begins. The dramatic destination of Act II is the Mid-point, where once again something new will enter the story and change the nature of the game for the hero that will act as a catalyst for him or her to make the transition to a proactive "warrior."
|Act II - response||Act II - response|
Hero is now a wanderer, staggering through a forest of options and risks, not sure where to go or what to do next.
Ambivalent towards KOS-MOS.
Shion's reaction to the new journey that's just been launched for them, and reluctance to accept it.
Hero is now a wanderer, staggering through a forest of options and risks, not sure where to go or what to do next.
Ambivalent towards Weltall.
Fei's reaction to the new journey that's just been launched for him, and reluctance to accept it.
Shion gets involved with a mysterious character, Andrew, who knows more about the incident and recent events than he lets on.
This person almost gets killed by a Gnosis but is saved thanks to an unexpected power.
Fei gets involved with a mysterious character, Elhaym, who knows more about the incident and recent events than she lets on.
This person almost gets killed by a Rankar but is saved thanks to an unexpected power.
Andrew Cherenkov and Elhaym van Houten:
Many people have noted the mirroring of these two characters in their later "spotlight" scenes, but they are actually mirrored in more scenes and characteristics. Both are soldiers who perhaps aren't suited to it, but feel that is all they can do and where they belong. They also point a gun at a main character: Andrew points a gun at KOS-MOS but never fires, and also at Shion for a second when she surprises him, while Elly points a gun at Fei.
Here the Elsa and the Blackmoon forest are mirrored, as the heroes take shelter and starts to form a camraderie with other characters that will become important. You also get a couple of memorable lines such as chaos' line about everyone having at least one skill that they excel in over all others and Shitan's line about using power or being used by power. Actually, both chaos and Shitan are similar in the fact that both are holding back their knowledge and abilities during the story: chaos is a god-like being who has existed since ancient times but never bothers to reveal this until Wilhelm tells the protagonists, and Shitan is a "Guardian Angel" class Solarian, who has access to his own Omnigear, to Shevat and even Solaris, but keeps it to himself until the Gazel Ministry reveals it to Fei and the others.
Third main (playable) character is introduced in the beginning of Act II (mysterious introduction) - chaos.
This character has the "body of God" (Anima) as referred to by an "antagonist" later.
Third main (playable) character is introduced in the beginning of Act II (mysterious introduction) - Elly.
This character has the "body of God" (Deus/Persona) as referred to by an "antagonist" later.
chaos and Elly:
Both are Takahashi's characters and both characters have actually met/known the main character in a previous life. We can also draw comparisons between KOS-MOS and Elly in the story, but as their introduction does not sync up, I won't do it now.
Perhaps we can think of Dazil as an extension of the Blackmoon Forest part. Since the set-up took longer in Xenosaga it is fitting that Xenogears stretches on a little further here before we have more mirroring. Then, Fei heads out into the desert of Aveh to look for Shitan, and soon Fei will have his encounter with Grahf who was in the mysterious Gear at Lahan, while Xenosaga introduces you to Wilhelm and the Red Testament. However, the scene that Wilhelm mirrors from Xenogears is the scene with Shitan and the Emperor, which happens after the scene with Grahf.
Thus Xenogears and Xenosaga do not mirror one another at every point in the screenplay. In fact, some scenes at the beginning of Xenogears are mirrored first near the end of the Xenosaga trilogy, and even some other events and especially mirrored dialogue and characters will appear "out of sync" with each other in an analysis such as this - which is only natural, since it would be pretty boring and predictable to use the exact same template for both stories. Some deviation begins here, and from now on I will examine and compare scenes slightly out of order for those that appear later in their respective story.
Wilhelm and the Red Testament.
Foreshadowing and cryptic dialogue.
Shitan and the Emperor.
Foreshadowing and cryptic dialogue.
The scene between Shitan and the Emperor here occurs after the introduction of Grahf. I will now examine the scenes that introduces Margulis and Grahf, even though Grahf's introduction occurs before Shitan's conversation with the Emperor.
A central antagonist, already foreshadowed in the set-up, is introduced; Margulis.
Pellegri: "They're innocents! Surely they deserve more respect."
Margulis: "Respect? For what? Save your philanthropy for someone that cares."
A central antagonist, already foreshadowed in the set-up, is introduced; Grahf.
Fei: "Why!? Why did the villagers have to die...?"
Grahf: "Who cares why! It does not matter how many of them died... [...]"
While Margulis is often compared to Grahf, I think this is actually the only time the two are mirrored. And it is not through more than the fact that they are both the first real antagonist to appear and dismiss the death of an entire population, which they were partly responsible for, as something that doesn't matter to them. Grahf's scene is also much longer and is actually mainly mirrored with a completely different character from Xenosaga that we will soon examine.
Margulis is the first of the "transcended men" antagonists to appear (that opposes the heroes in Xenosaga), and Grahf is the first of the "broken-hearted" antagonists to appear (that opposes the heroes in Xenogears). Moreover, it can be said that those who aim to transcend their human existence are driven by fear and self-preservation, and those with a broken heart are driven by grief while looking to ameliorate the condition of suffering. Perhaps this is why Xenogears is sometimes regarded as "being more human" compared to Xenosaga, as "grief" appears to be a more noble and sympathetic driving force compared to fear. But in reality not everyone is going to be driven by grief, since that emotion is not the only one that antagonize human beings. And there are many people who will identify more with the drive for self-preservation and safety.
However, let us examine what scene, character, dialogue and cinematography from Xenosaga really is mirrored with Grahf's introduction scene...
Dmitri Yuriev and Grahf:
I will examine the mirroring between Grahf and Dmitri Yuriev here, even though Yuriev's scene, in contrast to Grahf's scene, occurs during the last encounter with Yuriev far ahead in Xenosaga III.
Yuriev is probably the character most closely mirrored with Grahf as a whole, even though both characters are mirrored with several others as well during the course of the story, and apart from these scenes there is the obvious "soul transfer" ability parallel and their statement that they will not ever die until their goal is accomplished. There is also the allusion to the devil, with Yuriev placing the number 666 on Rubedo (the "Red Dragon") and wanting to challenge "God," and with Grahf once destroying all of the world with the army of "Diabolos." Diabolus or Diavolus is a Greek word that means "accuser" and is the origin of the word "Devil."
Also, in the mirroring of these scenes, there is the conversation between Grahf/Fei and Yuriev/Jr. that have a very similar tone to it. Both characters have quite the theme music dedicated to them as well; "Grahf -Ruler of Darkness-" and "Godsibb" respectively.
Technically Bart and Ziggy's introductions may not seem all that similar, but they do sync up and both are Soraya's characters. Bart and his crew of the Yggdrasil are, as many people will notice, also mirrored with Jr. and the crew of the Durandal as both are the Young/Little Master supporting character in their respective story. But Jr. and the Durandal aren't introduced until later, and because that mirroring is too obvious I won't bother examining it. On the other hand, the rescueing scenario of Margie and MOMO is mirrored, and that scenario is part of the introduction of Bart and Ziggy's character.
From here on I will examine the events slightly out of order until we get to the first 'Pinch Point.' Between the introduction of Bart and Margie to being safely returned to Nisan, Xenogears covers more scenes than between the introduction of Ziggy and him and MOMO finding safe refuge onboard the Elsa. However, I feel this makes up for the set-up in Xenosaga which was considerably longer than Lahan Village, so neither story is ahead of the other.
There is somewhat of a mirroring here between Balthasar's dislike of Weltall and Andrew Cherenkov's dislike of KOS-MOS, but overall I think the mirroring is stronger between Ramsus and Andrew and I will focus on a comparison between them instead. The rest of the mirroring during the Margie and MOMO rescuing scenario looks like the following. Note however that the scenes from Xenosaga are out-of-order in the chart, and Ramsus' dream/flashback takes place long after the Margie rescuing scenario:
And of course anyone will recognize that the Gear Shitan commandeers, Heimdal, looks pretty much the same as Jin's A.M.W.S in Xenosaga's Miltia flashbacks. The similarity between Shitan and Jin is more than just "mirroring," easter egg, or cameo though. It's more like a "reboot" of the character, similar to what Nephilim and Abel are to Elly and Fei. For this reason, one can also point out similarities between Virgil/Bart, Richard/Karellen, the Vanderkam's and the Hammer's, etc. But I will not do that much during this coverage. What is a "spiritual" connection between the characters rather than mirroring I will mainly explore in the character page.
There is one part of the interior of Pleroma that resembles the enterior of the Church headquarters (the 'Ethos' headquarters in the U.S. version) in Xenogears. Both have a bridge with the organization's crest visible in the background. So there's also mirroring in the gameplay segments as well as the gameplay design in many cases. But I will not bother with the gameplay related mirroring for this analysis.
|Fifth main (playable) character is introduced during the rescue mission - MOMO.||Fifth main (playable) character is introduced during the rescue mission - Chu-Chu.|
The mirroring here becomes a little jarring. MOMO and Chu-Chu have nothing in common, and Chu-Chu doesn't even become a party member or even playable until the end of the Shevat arc. The mirroring here is between MOMO and Margie, even though Margie doesn't ever become a playable character. However, she was originally meant to be a playable character, and she still helps out in some of the battles with healing and weaker attacks, even if you don't control her. Margie and MOMO have the same literary theme in that they look like weak little girls, but they are actually some of the stronger characters, especially MOMO who is both strong in the story and with Ether in combat.
The battle sequence with Bart and Margie against Ramsus and Miang is mirrored in Xenosaga when Ziggy has a boss fight against Margulis and you can put MOMO right behind Ziggy to prevent the knockback attacks, thereby taking her out of actual combat and putting her on healing duty (which is the intended strategy), effectively giving her the same role as Margie. The only thing missing was Pellegri joining the fight to assist Margulis.
Ziggy has a flashback of his human life and his son Joaquin here. Many people have noticed that the yard in this fragmented memory looks exactly like the one from Old Miltia that young Shion plays in during the upcoming Encephalon scenes - which lead to a number of theories about the location of this flasback - before it was revealed to be on Planet Michtam at the end of Xenosaga: Pied Piper (which at that time went by the name "Abraxas"). The question here is: was this memory always meant to be on Michtam and they just went with the same design for these different places and hoped no one would notice, or was the events of Pied Piper originally set on Old Miltia a 100 years in the past?
"Soraya Saga at [the time of Xenosaga: Pied Piper's release] updates her blog again to mention that she and Takahashi worked on Pied Piper's original story and it was only "mildly adapted" by Monolithsoft. Then as the final chapter is about to be released, she updates with specific scenes Monolithsoft added that weren't in the original script. These are consistant with some pretty random WTF events in XS Ep2 which made fans pretty pissed because of their poor implementation and writing."
- Duckroll (Zenosaga.com forums, 2005)
"There were many major changes [in Xenosaga], but what's done cannot be undone, so there's no looking back on those might-have-beens."
- Soraya Saga (Interview with Siliconera, 2010)
While I have never seen the list of specific scenes that were added by Monolithsoft at the end of Pied Piper, there is only one event that truly left a "WTF" impression on me, and surely also on a lot of other Xenogears fans at the time, and that was the renaming of Planet Abraxas to Planet Michtam that felt very random and tacted on at the end. Having thought about this for a while now, originally feeling that the etymology of the names Abraxas and Michtam fit the current scenario, I have now changed my stance and believe that Ormus' homeland was originally Old Miltia and that Miltia a 100 years ago was the original setting of Pied Piper when it was still a part of the main games, possibly called Abraxas like Michtam was in the current scenario. Pied Piper was meant to fit into the main scenario, and there is mirroring with Xenogears as much as any other scenes from the main episodes.
So, for this mirroring coverage I'm going to examine and speculate on what the original scenario could've been, and make hypothetical speculation. And the theory is that Miltia a 100 years ago was the original setting for Ziggy's background and that it was largely mirrored with Xenogears' Zeboim flashbacks and "Protect Nisan/Gate 1 - Margie" from Xenogears. The Episode III database refers to Miltia as "Site of the Miltian Conflict and birthplace of many other incidents and tragedies, it was sealed away for fourteen years when its region of space was blocked off from the U.M.N." which could indicate Takahashi's original scenario still being left like an ambiguous shadow in this entry. The explanation for why Abraxas changed name to Michtam is also poorly explained in the database, stating "The real reason why the planet was named after a celestial body is unknown, but the prevailing theory claims it was due to the fourth planet in the Michtam system being the only one habitable by humanity. [...] The planet became recognized as a planet-state under Federation law; and at the same time, an official declaration decreed that its official name was now Michtam, taken from the star system."
The scene of Joaquin playing with Nexus 6 still looks very similar to Old Miltia in Pied Piper though (although it could've been a choice purely to keep up some consistency), so the design of the yard ultimately isn't evidence of anything. But I am still going to suggest that Abraxas=Michtam was a retcon to easier get Ziggy's background out of the main games, at least for now.
Andrew Cherenkov and Kahran Ramsus:
Ramsus and Cherenkov are often compared but they are actually not mirrored all that much in their stories. Ramsus is mostly mirrored with Margulis while Cherenkov is mostly mirrored with Elly. The only time Ramsus and Cherenkov are properly mirrored are when they have anxiety regarding KOS-MOS and Weltall-Id respectively, and both are called "garbage/trash" in the story. They do look a bit alike though, so that probably is the main catalyst for their comparison.
The scene where Cherenkov is starting to turn into a Gnosis (becoming invisible) on the Elsa has a very eerie feel to it that is in line with Xenosaga's theme of fear, in contrast with the often sentimental scenes in Xenogears that ties into the theme of grief. I think this basic difference in theme is what produced such a difference in atmosphere that they seem very different despite much of the mirroring and the similar direction. Personally I enjoy the atmosphere of both, but for different reasons.
The sequence of Cherenkov flashbacks must be the most abstract directing Takahashi has ever done. The only thing from Xenogears that was directed similar was Fei's view of Id inside Weltall in Lahan and Fei's dream/memory of watching Id, Kahn and Grahf during that stormy night he was injured and brought to Lahan.
Imagery: one-winged angels and the shore of nothingness
The single-winged angels in Nisan's cathedral are a central visual representation of Xenogears' 'broken shards' theme, and the ash-colored white beach is a central visual representation of Xenosaga's 'waves and ripples' theme. Technically, while we get our first glimse of this beach in Xenosaga here, the metaphor and relation to humanity doesn't truly come across until Episode III, but I'll quote those lines here as they mirror what's said about the statues in Xenogears:
Margie: "Did you notice that the two great angels only have one wing each...? According to a legend handed down in Nisan... God could have created humans perfectly... But then, humans would not have helped each other... So that is what these great single-winged angels symbolizes... In order to fly, they are dependent on one another."
Here, the 'broken shards' are represented as angels with only one wing each, and this is a metaphor for humans as being imperfect, fragmented and 'broken', but with an altruistic hope of giving and receiving love by helping one another.
Joachim: "Don't you think waves resemble the relationships between people? They ebb and flow, as if feeling the distance between them, and repeat that process eternally. Young lady, do you love your father? Parents and children, too, could be said to be like waves."
Here Joachim Mizrahi (although it is from Episode III) gives us an equally true metaphor for humanity: a desire for independence and secure distance from one another, with the 'waves' theme represented as a shore on an ash-colored beach as a visualization of the Collective Unconscious that is beginning to scatter due to this. This beach is actually a subjective image, but most characters in Xenosaga, including Cherenkov, Shion, Sakura and Joachim, visualize it as a beach. It is an excellent metaphor, although perhaps not as iconic as the symbolism in Xenogears. But I still found it to be beautifully poetic, and makes me curious what kind of imagery Takahashi had in mind for the third and final story arc...
Cherenkov and Elhaym's flashbacks:
Although not obvious at first, which shows how good Takahashi has generally been in keeping scenes mirrored yet give them a distinctly different feel that it slips past your attention, many fans have recently noted this mirroring. I only noticed it recently as well. In both Cherenkov's and Elly's flashbacks there are interrogators who wants to use them as a test subject, finding them "valuable" even after Cherenkov and Elly have killed people. "But, we can't use her as a test subject in front of Erich. It's a pity we can't manage it... since there is so much potential." Elly is never used as a test subject like Cherenkov, although Sigurd was.
Then there's the scenes of the disturbing murders, Cherenkov's wife and the girl, which is mirrored with Elly's classmates at Jugend who forced Elly to do drugs that released her innate powers.
Elly uses AERODs (Animum Ether Response Offensive Drones) with Vierge, which is mirrored in Xenosaga with E.S. Simeon's Aird E attack later. In fact, Aird is what AERODs are called in the Japanese version if I am not mistaken.
Ziggy has a flashback here to the past when he faced off against Voyager who, as a Testament, transformed into a Gnosis in front of the Original Zohar as it began to glow. In fact, since Ziggy's backstory and Shakhan's demise sync up in the mirroring later, one can perhaps consider this glimpse of Voyager to be mirroring with Bart confronting Shakhan for a brief moment inside the capital before withdrawing. It syncs up well, even though it might seem like a stretch. However, given the clear mirroring/syncing of Bart and Ziggy's stories, I do not think it was a coincidence that they decided to show off Ziggy's enemy for a second here, just like the Aveh arc left you with the camera remaining a second or two on Bart's enemy during this part.
Now Act II reaches its first real Pinch Point, which is a reminder of the nature and intention of the antagonistic force - a return of the same thing that appeared at the Inciting Incident. And there are several of these during Act II and III.
|Pinch point||Pinch point|
Reminder of the nature and intention of the antagonistic force; Gnosis, KOS-MOS "blue eye mode".
Reminder of the nature and intention of the antagonistic force; Grahf, Weltall, and Fei blacking out.
While it's too early for the heroes to win a significant victory, a good narrative allows its protagonists to try, failing in the process, only to learn something from that failure. This is what the desperate counterattack (Recapture Aveh) is in Xenogears. In Xenosaga the protagonists are still on their journey to Second Miltia, but we do get a reminder of the antagonistic force from the Inciting Incident when KOS-MOS' mysterious behavior and the Gnosis are once more brought to our protagonist's attention at the end of the Cathedral Ship arc.
KOS-MOS and Weltall
As previously established, KOS-MOS and Weltall are mirrored in their respective stories (I'm sure most people noted that both have a bunch of black box components, both names mean "cosmos," etc) and this scene at the Pinch Point is one of the most memorable scenes involving them, though most of us didn't know we were watching Weltall at the time. For some reason a lot of people seem to think that KOS-MOS is a "re-imagining" of Weltall because of their similarity, which makes me think they do not fully comprehend the concept of mirroring, directing and style. Directing and style in Xenosaga were even stated to be similar to Xenogears by the developers. Overall I'd say Xenosaga moves at a faster pace after the set-up in terms of the scenes mirrored, but that's probably because on the journey to Second Miltia they have less to do than the characters in Xenogears. The desperate counterattack contains more action and drama than the relatively short pinch point in Xenosaga, though Xenosaga's Pinch Point is memorable because you immediately recognize the mystery of KOS-MOS while Weltall might be mistaken for a random foe that appears out of nowhere the first time. One can perhaps also think of Jr. coming to the rescue as being mirrored with Maison coming to the rescue.
We also have yet another mirroring here in the form of Vanderkaum and the battle against his big naval gun on the Kefeinzel, even though Xenosaga's Vanderkam doesn't give you his fight until you reach Old Miltia. However, I'll mention it here so I can get it out of the way. There's also the Dora fight mirroring with the Proto-Dora fight in Xenosaga I-II for the DS.
Change of scenery: Kukai Foundation.
Sub-story: Prisoners of the Federation. Quest for freedom. Encephalon Dive.
Change of scenery: Kislev Capital.
Sub-story: Prisoners of Kislev in D-Block. Quest for freedom. Gear Battling.
Flashbacks, dreams and nightmares
We start out with a mirroring here between Fei and Jr. before they wake up distressed. Both are having a memory take on the form of a dream, though, in Fei's case it's more psychological. Well it is a thematic moment of fear (Xenosaga) and grief/sorrow (Xenogears) again.
From here on up until the next Pinch Point we get a lot of politics, a new substory, introduce new characters, and have the protagonists trying to win their freedom. I will point out the mirroring when they first appear in whichever game they first appear, as the mirroring will be out of sync until the next Pinch Point. Overall I don't think it is hard to tell that the Kukai Foundation and Nortune, Capital of Kislev, are mirrored. Even the area map of these that you are limited to explore in-game look similar, and both places are run by a 'Kaiser.'
The mirroring between Jr. and Rico is very subtle, especially since Jr. seems to be more a mix of Bart (because of his crew) and Billy (because of his guns). But there's actually quite a bit of Rico in him as well: both are red-haired characters who are referred to as "monsters" by family members (Rico by his father Sigmund and by kids in flashback, and Jr. by his brother Albedo and by the standard U.R.T.V.'s later in flashback). Both are influential and famous characters where they live, and they can be quick to anger. Note that Jr. has green pants.
We have other mirroring here in the form of Durandal's room with the recovered Gnosis remains and the laboratories in Solaris' inner sanctum which I don't think I have to examine much. Basically Wels and Gnosis are mirrored as a monstrous type of existence that frightens humans but are actually just a form of humans themselves. Both sometimes have halos.
We also have mirroring in the form of the Durandal turning into a skyscraper and Babel Tower. You can see that they reused much of the basic design of the houses and buildings they showed in Babel Tower for Xenosaga's world.
The scene that introduces Sellers seems like it is mirrored with the scene that introduces the Gazel Ministry in Xenogears with cryptic dialogue, often referring to the past, and the antagonists taking action with "Plan 401" and "the Purge" respectively. Now that I think about it, I do get a bit of a Gazel vibe from Sellers hovering around in that chair. Never thought about that before. Also 'Sellers' and 'SOL-9000' are both references to cinema: actor Peter Sellers (Dr. Strangelove) and HAL-9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey). Both were films by Stanley Kubrick.
Next up we have two mysterious characters interfering and manipulating circumstances to get a certain desired result:
It is interesting to note that Shion ends up in the playground from Old Miltia that was identical to the one Ziggy's son Joaquin played around in with his artificial dog a 100 years ago in the Encephalon, but Ziggy doesn't end up there. Instead Ziggy ends up with MOMO and Jr. near Labyrinthos and the events of the Third Descent Operation. The ODM also states that the playground was a creation from Shion's memory, so it couldn't be interference from Ziggy's memory blending things. This further supports that both of them had a memory of the same place individually, and that Pied Piper possibly took place on Miltia in the original scenario. Ziggy's line "All this before me... Is this really Miltia from fourteen years ago...?" sounds like he is confused about something other than them simply seeing the past. I don't want to read too much into that line (since the acting is sometimes awkward), but it is sort of interesting if we consider this theory.
We get a flashback of the 27-Series Asura (called Athra Series 26 in the U.S. Episode I) eating Febronia, which was retconned into the standard models in Episode III. Since everything else looks consistent here, such as Aoi's room and Suou lying dead on the floor with Asura's in the room, it's strange that they changed the Feb detail. Though I think they did it so that Virgil's hate of the actual standard models made more sense. One can also dismiss this inconsistency in-game by assuming that Shion was confusing her memories of what actually happened a bit. I always thought the scene where the Asura's eat each other and merge was foreshadowing of the Wels concept from Xenogears, but with Xenosaga not having gone past Shion's arc it is hard to tell if there was any particular meaning to this scene. But we can perhaps think of this as mirroring with the Wels eating scenes.
Xenosaga mirrored the scene where Wiseman shows up again in the Blue Testament's first appearance, though in Xenosaga it happens after/during the coming Pinch Point. But even though they are out of sync a little, as usual I'll go ahead and compare them right away.
It is interesting to note that Wiseman make use of some type of teleportation ability which is never explained scientifically in the game. I wonder if Takahashi had some idea behind it, something like transference and imaginary domain forms in Xenosaga, or if he simply did it arbitrarily for effect. Even the Zohar's phenomenon alteration abilities are stretching the plausibility of such teleportation. Hammer's reaction is great here though, since it is in character while also pointing out how freaky such an unnatural ability would seem to most people. It further makes me think that Takahashi should've come up with an explanation for it.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Rico's childhood flashback mirrored in Xenosaga. The best part about it is that it is mirrored in Pied Piper, which shows that that story really should've been in the main games. Although I haven't gotten to Pied Piper yet, I'll examine this mirroring here:
These scenes are without a doubt two of my favorite scenes from these works. Takahashi went all out with the grief theme here, having a boy take refuge indoors with his mother while the mother is weak and eventually dies, leaving him alone in a world where he is hated, really got to me. So I was delighted to see Takahashi mirror this specific scene while reading through the Pied Piper translation in 2005, and I'm still disappointed that Jan's background was not explored like that in the main games. But at least it was written. Since Xenosaga has a main theme of fear instead of grief, you might notice that the tone in Jan's memory gravitates more towards anxiety and the issue of bravery than grief.
|Pinch point||Pinch point|
Reminder of the nature and intention of the antagonistic force; Gnosis returns. Albedo takes action.
Evacuating the people of Kukai Foundation.
Song of Nephilim.
Reminder of the nature and intention of the antagonistic force; Grahf returns. Gebler takes action.
Evacuating the people of Nortune.
I wouldn't say that Gear-dock and Song of Nephilim are mirrored in any real capacity, but they are two extra dungeons here that keeps the pace on a pretty even scale between the two works.
Evacuating the people of Nortune and Kukai Foundation
There are a couple of scenes here that appears to be mirrored with Grahf. First there's the scene where E.S. Simeon appears during the battle over Kukai Foundation and proceeds to charge towards the Foundation to get MOMO. This seems to mirror the scene where Grahf appears in O.R. Weltall during the battle over Nortune and proceeds to charge towards Nortune to shelter Elly from the explosion of the Hecht crashing. Related to this scene of Grahf saving Elly with his Gear's wings is the scene in Xenosaga where Albedo spreads his winged cape before abducting MOMO. In that sense, these bits are mirrored because of an antagonist appearing suddenly who has a connection to- and an "obsession" with a particular "girl" in the main cast. The Shakespeare quote also makes him appear a bit like Grahf. But overall Albedo is more often mirrored with Id in that they are both the "wildcard" antagonist who seems to have no rational motivation, and it is further solidified when Jr. refers to Albedo as "My dark half...the part I've tried to hide away..." Both Albedo and Id are the dark half of one of the main characters in their respective story. His line "Weak! They're all so weak!!" while destroying dozens of Gnosis and A.G.W.S.'s also gives the impression of an Id mirroring (Weltall-Id shooting reactive rounds).
Following this we soon have another mirroring in the form of a flashback of MOMO's birth, which mirrors a flashback of Emeralda's birth seen later on in Xenogears. The mirroring aspect is mostly visual, but these girls are also mirrored in that they are both artifical girls that contain important data that the antagonists are pursuing. Both girls are also attached to their dead fathers. Similarities with the Kirschwassers also exist. The ability to transform using nanomachines and Ether that Kirschwasser possess seems to mirror Emeralda.
Blue Testament's line "Who? What does it matter? Or...do you need a name to describe me?" seems like a mirroring of Id's later "Names do not matter..." line. To me it also seems like Takahashi has elaborated on the line he previously wrote for Id in Xenogears.
The pullback night shot above Nortune is mirrored in Xenosaga during E.S. Asher's descent upon Old Miltia in the Miltian conflict flashback at the beginning of Episode II. Other than this visual element I can't think of anything else that is mirrored much in these two particular scenarios.
Escape Proto-Merkabah / Outer space and arrival at 2nd Miltia.
Escape Goliath Factory / Ignas continent and arrival at Aquvy.
|Episode I Ends|
And, we're at the end of Xenosaga Episode I. However, Act II isn't really over, we still haven't arrived at the Mid-Point of these stories, which is the dramatic destination of Act II as I stated previously. However, like a TV series, these stories have a number of sub-plotting, like the Kislev and Kukai Foundation segments, to keep the player hooked for all of the long-running narrative and the huge cast of characters. This makes it possible to end Xenosaga temporarily here, as the developers decided to do, yet it also explains why Episode I feels like a prologue that never gets the chance to translate towards a "middle" in the story. Episode I was no doubt intended to go even further in the original plan, so Episode II, like the Aquvy arc in Xenogears, continues right where we will have left off.
There's a Xenogears easter egg in the form of Proto-Dora in Proto Merkabah. In Xenosaga I-II you actually get to fight Vanderkam in it too, on Old Miltia.
Also, before I forget, the G-Elements - a reference to Voltron (or some such anime) - is referenced several times in Xenosaga. I guess we could call it mirroring, though it is hardly anything interesting.
I don't know if I should say the Gnosis boss 'Pistis Sophia' (mistranslated Sophie Peithos) is mirrored with the early form of Deus in Mahanon, or the generic boss 'Fis-6' in Goliath. Whatever.
I imagine that if Episode I had been as long as originally planned, the ending here would've been more of a fast transition, possibly involving some kind of action like when the Goliath was shot down over Aquvy. In the DS version, Canaan (who had been introduced along with E.S. Asher at Proto Merkabah) had crashed into the ocean with E.S. Asher.
The Goliath Factory is really dull looking, proving that Xenogears sometimes has as generic and grey designs as Xenosaga does. There's no more mirroring here that I haven't mentioned already, although Grahf's attack on the Goliath and the first battle you have with him could be said to be mirrored with fighting Albedo in the Proto Merkabah. Perhaps, then, we can think of Proto Merkabah burning up as it falls apart in the planet's atmosphere as being mirroring with the Goliath crashing?
If Xenogears had been done on the PS2 in the style of Xenosaga, it would not have gone further than this. I think the events that transpired up to this point are even a bit longer than Xenosaga Episode I. It is also clear that Xenogears has less confusing phenomena and dialogue occur up to this point, but Xenogears is also more silly at times, with the mood switching so often that it can be a bit jarring. I think that's one of the things that makes Xenogears feel less professional, and also more like a typical JRPG. For example, the slapstick humor when Rico smacks Hammer after Hammer says "It should be a piece o' cake with me around" is not something you'd see in Xenosaga at this point, although they did resurrect slapstick humor in Episode III.
Before we continue where we left off, Xenosaga (Episode II) opens with a flashback to the Miltian Conflict 14 years in the past. I'm curious how Takahashi originally planned to present this flashback if Episode I had been longer as planned? The pullback night shot above Old Miltia during E.S. Asher's descent is mirrored with the pullback night shot above Nortune during the Kislev purge in Xenogears, which suggests it was in Takahashi's scenario all along. That's not to say that director Koh Arai and scenario writer Norihiko Yonesaka aren't capable of inventing their own mirroring, but we can tell from Episode I that this is very much Takahashi's style. So, whenever a good mirroring with Xenogears appear, I'm going to assume that Takahashi likely had a hand in it. According to Soraya, while they made changes in the entire Episode II, it seems it was mainly disc 2 that deviated from the original plan:
"The chapters after Momo Encephalon and Disc 2 are his [Norihiko Yonesaka's] style."
- Soraya's FAQ from Fringe (2005), Ver. 2
Q22. Is the new writer responsible to the alteration? (02/19/05)
A22. I don't necessarily think so. In a teamwork environment, every writer must write as directed.
- Soraya's FAQ from Fringe (2005), Ver. 1
Despite how much may have been altered, Episode II is still mirrored a lot with the Aquvy arc from Xenogears, and ultimately the plot threads do manage to wrap themselves up pretty neatly by the end of the series as if they were always meant to wrap up that way. We must remember that the main reason Arai directed Yonesaka to make alterations was to make the story "easier to read" (not using as much high level Japanese symbols) and to add "more explosions." In other words, to make it easier to follow and to add more exciting action. Also to remove Ziggy's past from the main games, which likely tied in to the idea of making the story easier to follow.
The scene with Margulis on the bridge of his ship talking to Pellegri about the Vessel of Anima feels like it is mirrored with the scene onboard the Gebler battleship right after the Goliath was shot down in Xenogears, though it is mainly superficial because of the antagonist commanders being on the bridge of their ships. It is not the first time Margulis and Ramsus are mirrored though.
From here we have lots of more mirroring, albeit somewhat subtle and they're slightly out of order as they have been often before. It looks like the following...
U-TIC makes a move; subordinates of Margulis (Pellegri, Richard, and Hermann) attacks on 2nd Miltia.
Shion and the others eat lunch at Moby Dick's. Shion's reunion with Jin.
chaos and Jin talk during the night.
Fei and Elly talk during the night.
Fei and Elly eat in the Thames' beer hall. Fei's reunion talk with Bart (later).
Gebler makes a move; subordinates of Ramsus (Elements Dominia and Kelvena) attacks in Aquvy ocean.
I will examine them side by side going with the order of Xenosaga's scenes this time:
Enemy attack: U-TIC Inquisitors and Gebler Elements
These ones shouldn't be hard to see the mirroring.
You've got the subordinates of the "commanders" (Margulis and Ramsus) attacking the protagonists, both led by a blonde, fiery, hotheaded woman (Pellegri and Dominia). Furthermore, both are after a female character among the main protagonists (MOMO and Elly), although Dominia merely decides on her own to take Elly when having to retreat, and MOMO isn't captured.
Then there's the reinforcement: Canaan in E.S. Asher; and Fei and Elly in Weltall and Vierge while Bart is fighting alone undersea. Finally, the enemy is forced to retreat.
It is interesting that Dominia knows of the Yggdrasil and Kelvena says that "We were too busy fighting that red Gear to try to confirm it [the Yggdrasil sinking]." That suggests Kelvena and Dominia was onboard Ramsus' ship at that time even though we didn't see them - just as we didn't see Richard and Hermann until now in Xenosaga (well their mechs at least, we never see their faces in the PS2 episodes).
Food: Moby Dick's and Thames' Beer hall
This is another neat mirroring in that the Thames is a seafaring ship and Moby Dick's is a bar that tries to look like the interior of a classic seafaring ship. While they're not just eating while in these places, there is a lot of scenes in the Thames' beer hall, more than I remembered. Shion also has a reunion with Jin here and Fei has a reunion with Bart, and when Fei learns that Bart shot down the Goliath there's some conflict, though not nearly as much as Shion and Jin's issues.
Night talk: Jin/chaos and Fei/Elly
As seen in an early Episode I trailer, the scene with Jin and chaos were always meant to be in the original scenario, though I don't know if the dialogue remained intact. Content wise the conversations aren't technically similar, but they're both of the philosophical nature. Both touch a bit on their respective main theme. Jin says: "Our consciousness constantly changes form in its unending search for the future." which relates to the wave theme. Elly says: "It's OK not to feel 'whole'. Even if you only feel partly complete, if you repeat that enough, eventually it'll be 'whole'. A part... is better than zero." which relates to the broken shards theme. (I love that the music box theme, "Distant Promise," is playing here.)
Also, Jin's line "You know, it's strange. I feel like I can talk to you about anything, chaos. It's like you're much older than you look, as if you'd been alive for hundreds of years." seems mirrored with Elly's line "It just felt as though I've told you the same thing long ago... It must be my imagination. I couldn't have said it to you before, because we've only just met, haven't we?"
Jin & chaos:
The following line was in the trailer: "The outcome of the future changes alongside with time. When the Sacred Light is seen, people lose their original existence. This is ... [Wilhelm: "The Will to Power."] I'm thinking there's a possibility the "Will to power" reference was made for the trailer only, especially since Wilhelm wouldn't be in this scene. In Episode II the line is translated as "Our consciousness constantly changes form in its unending search for the future. When a man finds a guiding light, he runs to it," with "sometimes forgetting its true nature in the process." added instead of "This is ... "
If Jin really said "the will to power," then the line would have been: "Our consciousness constantly changes form in its unending search for the future. When a man finds a guiding light, he runs to it, this is the will to power." So was this last bit changed by Arai once this scene was no longer under the Der Wille zur Macht subtitle, or did Takahashi revise it, or was the trailer line just for promotion? (Wilhelm's line was also in the keywords trailer though.)
The line "Perhaps we humans are like moths. Aimlessly flitting around the inviting candlelight, unaware of the outcome that awaits us." was the first line spoken in the first Episode II trailer. I really like this line since it sums up the "will to power" theme with poetic imagery. This conversation is one of the better written ones in Episode II, and I think it remained largely intact from Takahashi's original script.
The political talk and worry about U-TIC in Helmer's office seems to mirror the political talk and worry about Shakhan in Thames' elevator, etc. For the most part, scenes such as those in Helmer's office and Jin's house feel like they're written by Takahashi in the Episode I style. They are very talky, and not much action occurs. The new dub makes them a bit more tedious to listen to than their Episode I equivalents, but I don't think Arai and Yonesaka made many edits here.
The vision from Episode I supports that KOS-MOS was not upgraded to a new "Version" on 2nd Miltia, although KOS-MOS did lose her headgear at the end of Episode I and there's no headgear on the Tertiary Weapon System display (what looks like the headgear on the display is around her neck if you examine the cutscenes in full size).
Also, it seems that the reason why KOS-MOS was to fight U-DO, in-game reasoning, was to prevent the possibility of more Gnosis appearing, since the Gnosis outbreaks work in concert with the U-DO phenomenon. Somehow I doubt KOS-MOS' bike was in the original scenario though. It, along with KOS-MOS' unnecessary redesign (which was mostly added to make KOS-MOS appeal more to a Western audience) smells like something the new team would come up with. It ties into Yonesaka's writing beginning after MOMO's Encephalon when it is used in an action scene and then never really used again. Also, Shion's line in the Kevin flashback "Is this going to save humanity too?" and Kevin's reply - referring to the Tub-Bike - are absent from the DS version in this flashback scene.
I also do not think that the scene where Shion first has her "casual" clothes on the following morning was written by Takahashi or Soraya. It actually doesn't make sense that she would change out of uniform when she's going to check up on Allen and KOS-MOS at the company she works for.
It seems the hypnotism Miang does is mirrored in Xenosaga with Gaignun's power to control the thoughts of others and the power of hypnotic suggestion (interference with a person's consciousness), using his voice as a medium. We never really get to see Gaignun do this, but I wonder if the original script had something. There was a mysterious scene deleted that Soraya described as "Gaignun vs Zohar emulators" which could've mirrored Elly's sabotage in the Yggdrasil engine room. Perhaps he found himself in the Emulator room after briefly being taken over by Yuriev and had to fix something like Shitan fixes the sabotage done by Elly.
Soraya wrote in her 2005 FAQ that "The scenes for analyzing Momo in the UMN administration center, memories of Sakura in Momo ENCEPHALON are tolerably faithful to the original." and "You can see Soraya's mark she left to the Episode II in:
* The conversation between Juli and Ziggy
* Momo Encephalon (In first version, It was not Juli's idea of destroying Momo's memory, but a subcommitteeman's. Juli hesitated.)
* The story about U.R.T.V. (with the exception of the chapters after Momo Encephalon [...]
Here, it seems Arai and Yonesaka chose to economize and personalize the narrative by having Juli try to destroy MOMO's memory rather than a subcommitteeman. By removing S.O.C.E. characters, they made the story tighter and allowed the more important characters to have more to do. However, this may have stretched Juli's character a little too far, which is probably why Soraya didn't like the idea of having Juli try to destroy MOMO's memory. By always hesitating in this scene, Juli's true mother-like feelings would start to emerge when faced with the possibility that someone would destroy this girl's memories. However, this scene was not restored in the DS version. Juli is still the one to attempt to destroy the data.
As with Jr. and Rico, this mirroring is very subtle, especially since Jin and Shitan is the obvious mirroring. But Jin and Shitan do not sync that well, unless you count his short conversation with Shion during the set-up to be his introduction. However, as a playable party member he joins you first during the Miltia arc. Also, both Jin and Billy are rooted in some form of tradition or religion. And their family member (Shion and Jesiah) are not pleased with this.
Sakura's Domain and Billy's Orphanage
Following the injury of MOMO and Fei, we have character arcs that were mainly conceptualized and written by Soraya Saga. While Episode II's script was adapted by MonolithSoft, we can determine from both the style and Soraya's FAQ that the MOMO Encephalon story was probably largely left intact. The death of Sakura is missing though.
Both scenarios are sort of a reunion of several characters and revelations about their pasts: the U.R.T.V. trio, and the old Elements; Sigurd, Jessie and Shitan. You've also got the family conflict between Billy and his father Jessie mirrored in Xenosaga with the family conflict between Rubedo and Albedo. Also, you've got the introduction of a new antagonist - Bishop Stone and Dr. Dmitri Yuriev - who both appear to be non-antagonistic and helpful people at first.
What's interesting about Stone and Yuriev is that they're not only mirrored and sync up in their first appearance, but that they look similar (glasses, facial structure, haircolor) and have the same Enneagram personality type as far as a I can tell - thus sharing a potential spiritual connection (like Elly/Nephilim, Shitan/Jin, Bart/Virgil, etc). They are both very chameleonic and ultimately arrogant, but they are not mirrored beyond their introduction and relation to their respective protagonists.
Sakura's Domain / Rubedo arc begins.
Fighting contaminated U.R.T.V.'s in Encephalon.
Orphanage / Billy arc begins.
Fighting Wels in Reapers Ship.
The white beach with contaminated U.R.T.V.'s in Sakura's Domain could be thought of as mirrored with the cruiser full of zombies in Xenogears.
The scene where Rubedo breaks the mental link on Old Miltia appears to be retconned, as we saw a flash of Rubedo cutting off the link by entering Red Dragon mode in Episode I (which was color inverted). Here Rubedo merely lets go of Albedo's hand and backs away. It does not contradict the dialogue in Episode I, but the visual discrepancy is pretty jarring, and they didn't even bother to make the outfits consistent either. They just wear what they wore at the institute.
Not only that, but the catalyst is a vision of the Omega System breaking out of Miltia, rather than the vision of the universal dispersion/destruction that Jr. was having nightmares about in Episode I. And yet the new vision doesn't appear to have anything to do with the actual Omega System, but appears to be meant as a visual representation of the resulting anti-particle collision being "converted directly into thermal energy" that Rubedo talks about. It is so poorly directed by Arai that I don't even know where to begin. The Perfect Guide states that Rubedo was implanted with the fear (that people get from witnessing the ultimate end of everything), which is what they should have shown again.
"Before the outbreak of the Miltian Conflict, Yuriev was shot to death by Gaignun. And once they had been deployed into the conflict, Rubedo touched U-DO's wave and learned the fear, severing the link. The URTV force crumbled, and Albedo was contaminated by U-DO. During the turmoil, Rubedo and Nigredo were rescued by chaos and Canaan, and Albedo was rescued by Sellers."
- Xenosaga III Perfect Guide
From here on it's Norihiko Yonesaka's "style" according to Soraya, everything after MOMO's Encephalon. Not surprisingly, the very first thing to occur is something that makes little sense: Albedo acquires the Y-Data and the key to Old Miltia, making you think he's making a transfer jump, but instead he dissolves. Then Jr. feels his heartbeat fading, suggesting Albedo was erased from existence. Then Red Testament says something about detecting "Albedo's ascension", huh? And then Albedo comes back to life later in the Omega System before being disintegrated again by Proto Omega's phase transfer canon. Not touched on in any guides, fan consensus is that this was written by the new team as a convenient way to temporarily remove Albedo from the action, allowing U-TIC to step into the spotlight as the key antagonists for the second half of the game. The DS version features Albedo continuing to be a key player, but since Xenosaga I-II isn't an accurate representation of the original scenario either it is impossible to know if that part was restored.
# The official advertisement says the new saga will have new sounds, new designs (as seen in Epsode II) and more easier story to read (as seen in the disc 2 of the Episode II).
- Soraya's FAQ, Ver. 2 (2005)
The scenario on Disc 2 doesn't appear to be a completely new script, even if it probably deviated from the original scenario quite a bit. The few bits of mirroring with Xenogears left intact suggests this. But here is where it gets interesting, because by recognizing how much has been mirrored up to this point, it may be possible to determine what parts were likely to be in the original scenario and what kind of events could have been in the original scenario by looking at what happens from this point on in Xenogears. This is one major reason why I wanted to examine Xenogears and Xenosaga together, since it is the only way to come close to the spirit of the original scenario if the original script is never made public.
So, on the topic of Albedo, it seems to me that from the Second Miltia/Aquvy arc, Albedo is mirrored with Jesiah. Once the Encephalon part is over, in Xenogears the Reapers Ship part is over, and the party heads for the Church headquarters. When they arrive they find everyone dead or fatally injured and learn that Jessie had been there, and Billy suspects him of going rogue and having stormed into the Church headquarters in desperation. This mirrors Margulis suspecting Albedo of going rogue in Xenosaga I-II after acquiring the Y-Data, and from this point the race is on, both in Xenogears and Xenosaga, with the antagonists going for Emeralda and the Original Zohar respectively. The only difference is that the protagonists in Xenogears, while doing a lot of pursuing, don't know what the antagonists are after.
The following is a chart of what mirroring we can see in the official Disc 2 of Episode II. The scenes from Xenogears are presented in chronological order while the scenes from Xenosaga are not:
The narration by Shion at the beginning of Disc 2 seems to be a way to get information across in an "easier to read" way, suggesting this is Arai's idea, even though it feels a lot like Xenogears Disc 2.
In the DS version the Federation must face a sudden appearance of Gnosis over a group of their territories, the Gnosis seemingly reacting to the waves of the Zohar that sleeps on Old Miltia - thus confirming the route has been opened. That could have been in the original script, since it mirrors the Wels attacking the Thames fleet. The Gnosis also felt missing from the PS2 Episode II. There is a lot going on in the DS version where there was only a narration by Shion, such as Shion going with MOMO and the others to see Second Miltia, some comedic moment with Mary delivering a funny Japanese video she developed to Jr. wanting him to join her videoclub, Gnosis attacking Second Miltia, the U.M.N. functioning abnormally, etc. This is when KOS-MOS awakes and comes to Shion's rescue, rather than the stealing E.S. Dinah part and being attacked by Voyager's craft. Once the Gnosis are all exterminated the U.M.N. communications return. Maybe this is why the Kajiura track "communication breakdown" was originally given that title?
KOS-MOS activates the E.S. Dinah system to lend more power to Shion in the DS version. Then Allen and Shion return to the Dämmerung, similar to the PS2 Episode II, while the others depart for Old Miltia. Shion sees Nephilim, etc. Juli's talk with MOMO also happens here, but there is no Shion and Allen encounter with Voyager as Shion travels in Dinah directly to the Foundation and joins the Elsa. The conversation between Wilhelm and Red Testament occurs after this, though there's no "We've detected Albedo's ascension" line, and no "The greater the suffering, the more exciting the drama" line either. We also see the Black and Blue Testament in the office.
If all this Gnosis fighting was in the original scenario then I have some sympathy for Arai cutting it out. It sounds like more of the same as what happened at Kukai Foundation. If Xenosaga was a TV series or Anime then I doubt that much fighting would've been written in. This is a result of wanting to give gamers something to do and get experience points and level up. In Xenogears you also never got to fight the Wels that attacked the Thames fleet, so this is pretty jarring with the mirroring and most people would probably want to go after the Original Zohar at this point. I was also not a fan of having Gaignun be called to "the land of awakening" before going to Fifth Jerusalem. I thought it was more surprising when Yuriev awakened in him without being summoned by Citrine, even though meeting Citrine makes more sense (we never got an answer to why Gaignun went to Fifth Jerusalem in the PS2 Episode II). There was also a deleted scene in Soraya's FAQ said to be "Brief reunion with grown-up Citrine," which presumably was similar but not identical to the DS version as Citrine was mentioned in an interview to originally have a family.
"In the original plan, she [Citrine] was supposed to have a bigger role in Episode 2, but due to various circumstances we had no choice but to cut it. She will also be appearing in Episode 3, but as for the story of her growing to adulthood, she settled down and had a family as an ordinary person after being released from the shackles of Dimitri."
- Tetsuya Takahashi (Xenosaga I-II DS interview, 2006)
Yuriev's way of commenting on the Immigrant Fleet in the DS version is even more similar to Karellen's introduction. A common complaint has been why nobody reacted to Yuriev's sudden return, but both Helmer and Jin have a reaction in the DS version when he makes a call to them, where they discuss the strangeness of it. It makes sense something like this was probably in the original scenario too. It is too juicy a development to not have characters talk about it.
With Ormus Stronghold still appearing in the DS version, it could have always been in the scenario, even though the Gnosis in the DS version appears to delay the protagonists as mirroring with Ezekiel's arrival too. We never get to take the Ezekiel down in Xenogears either, but the mirroring is never exact. The black holes have been talked about in Episode I, so it seems inevitable that the protagonists would have to confront them somehow. In the DS version, Ziggy remembers that he's seen the Ormus Stronghold over a hundred years ago when he was human, though this wasn't touched upon in Pied Piper. Apparently there's scenes with Albedo, Richard and Hermann in the fortress, but Orgulla was completely removed in the DS version. The dialogue between Jr. and Orgulla definitely didn't sound like Takahashi or Soraya's writing.
Before entering the Ethos Dig Site there's a scene with Grahf hanging around under water in his Gear when Miang contacts him: "Did you notice? His Gear is reawakening. Soon, he himself will awaken also." referring to Weltall and Id. This scene feels like it should be mirrored with something that may have been cut, perhaps the conversation between Yuriev and Citrine in the DS version since they talk about "awakenings" in both scenes.
Sunken city of Old Miltia and Zeboim
There's a clear mirroring here with the sunken city ruins in both Xenogears and Xenosaga, but unlike Xenogears there's no confusing sudden memories of a character's past upon seeing the ruins or flashbacks to the distant past. However, something like it occurs with Ziggy just prior to this when seeing the Ormus Fortress in Xenosaga I-II and the Galaxy Federation Police Department ruins on Michtam in Episode III. Thus, one can conclude that perhaps it was here, on Old Miltia, that Ziggy originally came across the G.F.P.D. ruin that triggered his memory and that perhaps the Ormus Fortress memory was only added after-the-fact to make up for the missing memory that would've originally occured here: "That symbol! I've been here before. It was in the distant past when I was still human." This fits with the flashback of Ziggy's son playing on the Old Miltia playground that I noted earlier during Episode I.
Billy: "These are ruins of a city... I've heard of it but..."
Elly: "... I know, I know it well... Yes... the cavern city Zeboim... When we were buried in that vast mausoleum."
In the flashbacks from Zeboim that we see during this part, we see that Zeboim's special military forces look very similar to Yuriev's private forces: Red berets, blue coats, and grey boots. The only difference is Yuriev's forces have blonde hair and wear shades. Miang, who controlled those forces, is also mirrored with Yuriev later on in Xenosaga III.
Original Zohar and Emeralda
There's not a lot to talk about here in terms of mirroring apart from the fact that both Elly and Shion have strong reactions to Emeralda and the Realian sisters respectively, and also the antagonists gets their hands on both Emeralda and the Zohar before the protagonists can do anything. We also don't know how the original scenario here went, since Proto-Omega looked quite different from the current design in the original scenario.
Proto-Omega and "Omega System"
I am of the opinion that the Omega System was not in the original scenario, only Proto-Omega. While it is impossible to be 100% sure on these things, the fact that such a gigantic structure was not mentioned in any post-series guides or the databases - even though Takahashi could've made anything up to smooth it over - suggests the Omega System was not in the original scenario. The only entry it has is in the Episode II guide where it is merely listed as "a not yet known object." Even though they kept the Omega System for the DS version, and even though DS exclusive characters like Alex and Ruryk got entries in that database, the Omega System still didn't get one. Then there's the awkward implementation of it in Rubedo's vision just before he broke the U.R.T.V. spiritual link on Old Miltia, having nothing to do with what's going on or referenced in the dialogue. Instead of asking "what is that," the characters only say "they destroyed the whole planet? How could they do that?" Ugh. It's like Arai was on a Deus-high as much as the fanbase was, and felt a planet-destroying-thing needed to be in there.
The original design of Proto-Omega here is also much closer to the evolution its form takes on in Episode III. I always thought Arai's design direction was jarring with the rest of the Omega forms. Likely, the original Proto-Omega would've "absorbed" the Zohar like Omega Metempsychosis does and not just fence it.
So what really went down here in the original scenario? Who knows. The deleted scenes show Albedo and Jr. in what looks like Labyrinthos or the Zohar/Proto-Omega chamber to be exact, standing face to face - later seemingly on the same team. This is in line with the mirroring with Billy and Jesiah from Xenogears, which I will get to soon. Jr. is seen without his coat here, because they had not finished rendering his coat by the time the trailer was shown (the trailer features a few "placeholders" as well, such as having the Original Zohar design for Woglinde's Emulator and Xenogears' Zohar design on the wall above the room to Proto-Omega's chamber).
The dialogue on the unused Jr./Albedo scenes are from Proto Merkabah in Episode I: "So you finally admit to it, you coward!" and "Although... I'm actually grateful to you, Rubedo. Thanks to you, I alone was able to find the way... The way to a whole new world." (These were originally translated from the trailer as: "So you acknowleged (it), coward!" and "Thanks to (that), "only this me" was able to find the way.")
However, there's no way these scenes took place in Proto Merkabah. The surroundings look identical to Labyrinthos. The fan translator of the trailer also noted that the unused Jr./Albedo scenes took place inside or near the "Zohar Room" on Old Miltia. So either they used dialogue from Proto Merkabah on these clips or the Proto Merkabah scenes were added later in production and the original context for that dialogue was in Labyrinthos.
Here we also have Xenogears still introducing characters at this point, with Tolone and Seraphita. Strange that Xenosaga didn't at Old Miltia, or maybe we should count in Voyager there. His first appearance might've been a little different in the original scenario.
Pope Sergius and Bishop Stone
The dialogue here between Stone and the protagonists seems to have been mirrored in Xenosaga with the dialogue between Pope Sergius and the protagonists. We've got the religious leaders, the religious talk, and their dubious claim of having the right to the power they're after. For this reason it makes a lot of sense that the Pope was always in the original scenario, and that it was always he who piloted Proto-Omega, despite Margulis' line: "Hahahahahahahaha! You will kneel before the power of Omega!", which sounds like something he might say before withdrawing on the bridge before you even get to Omega's room. And so, having the Pope be the main fight and not Albedo in the original scenario makes some sense, since Stone was the main fight at the end of Billy's arc.
Stone's dialogue is much better than Sergius' though, and he's a much more interesting religious antagonist who actually seems to have put some thought into his beliefs: "But you don't understand how to utilize this. You can't save anyone. Are you willing to take the responsibility for the loss you will cause humankind?"
Id and Albedo
The idea of having Jr. and Albedo be conjoined twins who feel like they are still a part of one another even after being separated, and eventually have them merge again was almost certainly conceptualized based on the idea that it would be in the spirit and style of Xenogears with Fei and Id. What we have here are also two characters who have contact with a special power - the power of the wave existence - and are seen floating around (a unique ability that seems to be granted by the wave existence's power). What's interesting in this particular scene with Id on the bridge though, is that he tells Stone that "It belongs to me..." referring to Emeralda. This is similar to what Albedo says to Sergius in regards to the Zohar and U-DO in Episode II with the line "This power is mine. You have no right to it." Of course, this occurs in the Omega System which I argue was not in the original scenario, but based on the early trailers this would've been inside Labyrinthos originally. That way it would've also synced better with when Id shows up in Xenogears.
Jessie and Albedo
For this part, we should also note that Jesiah and Albedo are mirrored. In fact, I'm not so convinced that we'd battle Albedo like we battle Id here as much as Albedo simply showing up as an unexpected help to assist Rubedo and begin their process of reconciliation - like Jessie and Billy. The scene in the Omega System is already like that. Given all the close mirroring for the most part in Episode I, this seems like the perfect scenario to me. I originally got a deja vu-like feeling when Albedo showed up in the Omega System, but it's not until now that I've managed to understand why.
Notice that when Ormus says "So Proto-Omega has awakened", the dialogue is once more completely ignoring the Omega System. It's like a giant, invisible ghost that only we the audience can see.
Showdown: Proto-Omega and Alkanshel
As mirrored, Sergius and Stone are the main antagonists for this arc to get a showdown in their powerful mech. I think Pope Sergius would've originally piloted Proto-Omega, and the showdown would likely have happened in space above Old Miltia. Then, this would've led into more mirroring. For example: In Xenogears at this point, Grahf shows up and gives Stone and Alkanshel a powerful energy barrier. Citan says: "... There is some kind of barrier. Some kind of negative feeling... hatred, somehow changed into an Ether, forming a barrier... If we can somehow change our strong force of will into Ether also and throw that back at it..."
Now recall a certain scene that was in Soraya's missing scenes list: "Jr. & Albedo vs U-DO vs KOS-MOS 3rd armament (removed)." The database mentions that Ormus' Pope is from a special lineage that can draw out a portion of Zohar's power (U-DO), more power than most of the People of Zohar. I think that then, due to the power of U-DO - much like the negative barrier on Alkanshel due to Grahf's power - it becomes impossible for our protagonists to damage Proto-Omega. Of course, that's when Jr. and Albedo vs U-DO comes in, with their anti-U-DO wave forms, as Jr. can use his Red Dragon ability to amplify waves sent by other U.R.T.V. units and have them converge to annihilate U-DO's waves.
If my intuition is correct, then Jr. & Albedo vs U-DO would've been the 2.0 version of Billy & Jessie vs Alkanshel. And I assume U-DO vs KOS-MOS would've been the actual in-game finishing-off battle after this, similar to Renmazuo, Heimdal and Vierge vs Alkanshel in Xenogears. And if we run with this mirroring as the intended idea, then Albedo being shot out at U-DO could very well have resulted in the "antimatter annihilation of Albedo" that Soraya mentioned was removed, especially considering that it both fits with Rubedo's earlier comment during the link flashback, "Even though we think of them as mental waves, it's really just a type of anti-particle. The resulting collision will annihilate us along with U-DO", as well as mirroring the shock Billy had upon realizing that he probably shot his own father as the bullet from the Buntline in order to break the barrier. This is where the original context for Jr. sensing Albedo's heartbeat fading upon Albedo de-materializing at the end of Disc 1 could've been expressed originally, along with "The only one allowed to take Albedo out...is me!" Perhaps even the scenes of "Jr.'s transformation/overdrive" and "Jr's rapid growing" that Soraya mentioned would've followed this scene due to some release of Red Dragon power that Jr. never got to release 14 years ago. That way, the arc could've ended with Jr. gaining the "Both juvenile and grown-up Jr. switching available in the battle" feature after this, along with some temporary closure like Billy's arc got with Primera talking again.
Before the battle with Alkanshel, Billy also says "Looks like it's time to settle the score..." which is also what Jr. says before going for Albedo in the Space Time Anomaly.
Billy's arc and the Aquvy arc comes to a close with the defeat of Stein and the mobile Gear Alkanshel, the return of Fei from coma, the planning of their next move to find an experimental Gear (Seibzehn), and one more conversation among the Gazel elders when Karellen returns with Emeralda. In Xenosaga we don't really get any mirroring of this, although Wilhelm's return with White Testament (Albedo) could always have been intended to be mirrored with Karellen's return with Emeralda and conversation with the Gazel Ministry before Babel Tower. However, in the original scenario, was the intention always to turn Albedo into a Testament?
I suppose there are many things that suggests this, such as the mirroring with Xenogears I just mentioned - unless there was another character Wilhelm brought back originally. However, another character as White Testament seems unlikely, and it would be odd to imagine merely three Testaments instead of four. There's also Wilhelm's line from Episode I: "His will shines with such wondrous light. It's a shame to relegate him to such a minor role... Don't you think...?" as well as the image of Testament forming through Albedo's shining will in Proto-Merkabah. I am actually going to assume that he was always meant to be revived as a Testament. But if he wasn't, it would've been neat if Albedo merged with Jr. as early as the end of Episode II, which could've been a factor in Jr.'s rapid growing, and then have some ability where Albedo is unleashed in battle (to mirror the 'Jessie canon' ability that Billy's Gear gets - always having his father with him). That way, once the confrontation with Yuriev takes place, Albedo could've awakened in Jr.'s body.
Some have speculated that Jr. & Albedo vs U-DO vs KOS-MOS 3rd armament was rewritten as the Jr. & Albedo vs Yuriev vs Gaignun scene we see in Episode III, and considering that we get a glimpse of adult Rubedo in that scene, as well as never getting a follow up on Albedo's existence within Jr., this is an interesting theory. Some have also compared the Yuriev final battle as merely another Pope Sergius. It's true, since Yuriev control's an "Omega" and seems unstoppable until "Testament" ruins it for him. However, there should have been a confrontation with Yuriev regardless, so if that's the case then how did the Yuriev thing play out originally?
Before I proceed with the mirroring, I'll just give my take on what the original scenario could have been: First, Albedo confronts Sergius and Proto-Omega in Labyrinthos; "This power is mine. You have no right to it." (Mirroring with Id in Zeboim and his line "It belongs to me." as well as Jessie showing up when Billy is confronting Bishop Stone). This was then moved to the confrontation with Sergius inside the Omega System. Second, U-DO would've awakened and swallowed Old Miltia like in the vision from Episode I, and then proceeded to protect Proto-Omega (in space) with Sergius inside. Jr. & Albedo would then have to join forces to take it down. (Mirroring with Billy & Jessie combining to take down Alkanshel's negative barrier). The Omega System was added to make up for the lack of an U-DO/Proto-Omega battle in space, thus the Pope being "inside" the Omega System instead of inside Proto-Omega. The resulting collision with the "U-DO barrier" on Proto-Omega would've annihilated Albedo. (Mirroring with Jessie believed to be killed as the warhead shot from the Buntline). This annihilation was then moved to both the end of Disc 1 (to remove Albedo from Labyrinthos) as well as annihilation by Proto-Omega's cannon.
Once Proto-Omega could no longer be defeated by Jr. & Albedo or KOS-MOS' Tertiary Weapon System, the Testaments were written in to destroy it instead. This is possibly why the database in Episode III states that Proto-Omega was "recovered" by Yuriev when it actually was obliterated into thin air by the Testaments. In the original scenario it would likely have been left as a wreck:
"...it was once again operated by Sergius XVII upon his landing on Miltia. It was recovered by Dmitri Yuriev after Miltia's destruction and underwent final refurbishment based on the Y-Data."
- Xenosaga III database
The database also curiously states that Sergius moved both Proto-Omega and the Mizrahi Cerebral Sciences Research Center from planet Michtam to Old Miltia, which sounds more convoluted than both being created on Old Miltia to begin with. I think this story was made up after Pied Piper's scenario was moved from Old Miltia 100 years ago, to planet Michtam a 100 years ago. After all, why would the U-TIC Organization originally be called "Mizrahi Cerebral Sciences Research Center" if it was placed under Mizrahi's administration first on Old Miltia?
"Sergius controlled the military of the Old Miltian Hierocracy, which was largely comprised of Fleet Immigrants. He moved the Mizrahi Cerebral Sciences Research Center, a division of the Federation's Zohar Research Organization, from planet Michtam to Old Miltia, renaming it the U-TIC Organization and placing it under Professor Mizrahi's administration. Top-secret anti-Federation plans were developed behind the scenes there."
- Xenosaga III database
Back to Jr. and Albedo. The space time anomaly would've destroyed Old Miltia and started expanding at this point, showing us what might have happened to Earth in the far past. What's missing here is Voyager's introduction and whatever Albedo was meant to accomplish to make Abel's Ark appear. I suppose the Testaments could always have intended to revive Albedo, leading to the showdown between Jr. and Albedo inside the Space Time Anomaly, since Soraya supposedly wrote "Albedo's short speech about the higher dimension," which we hear in the Space Time Anomaly. This doesn't prove that this always happened inside the Anomaly, it could've been said in a different context. However, Soraya's additional comment that Albedo's last words "You look like you just lost your best friend, Rubedo..." and "What are you talking about? I...I can't stand you or Nigredo." were added by Monolithsoft implies the entire concept of Albedo connecting with U-DO and being killed by Jr. remained intact apart from these two lines - since she goes out of her way to specify these two lines out of all things from the scene (the rest not written by Soraya or Monolithsoft/Yonesaka could've been written by Takahashi).
The question, then, is: if everything went down as it ultimately goes down here, why remove the earlier scene with Jr. & Albedo vs U-DO vs KOS-MOS' 3rd armament? Why did Soraya react to Disc 2 of Episode II as if it took such a drastically different direction that it seemed to her that we'd get a completely new story? Why did Soraya say in the Siliconera interview that there were "many major changes"? Obviously, something big did change, but what I can't figure out. Were the changes to shorten the story due to budget? Was it a consequence of moving Ziggy's story to a Cellphone game? Was it to stop Jr. from growing? To keep Albedo around longer? But Testament was already hinted at in Episode I, even though he didn't do anything in Episode III until the Yuriev confrontation?
I think that young Albedo's verbal abuse/violent acts against Sakura were added to emphasize Albedo's envy of Rubedo and Sakura's relationship, and the "You look like you just lost your best friend, Rubedo..." was added to emphasize their bond, which they may have deemed was too subtle in Soraya's original writing (but would have been more realistic). Here they hit you with it with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. "I hated this girl! She was always flirting with you."
And what should we make of the DS version? Why is Yuichiro Takeda credited as writer when almost everything from the original script of both Episode I and II is still intact? There's a few elements borrowed from the Anime which I'd credit to Takeda, but why would Takahashi even need him? Soraya's script and even Yonesaka's script appears to be there still, only with additional content. There's also a lot of seemingly filler - which puts the mirroring with Xenogears jarringly out of sync - and characters like Ruryk, new concepts like the U.R.T.V. projectiles against the Ormus fleet, etc, that could've been Takeda's contribution. But who cares about that when we still got the Omega System and still no Jr. & Albedo vs U-DO vs KOS-MOS 3rd armament?
Sergius' line "Don't worry. I'll send you to meet him soon. When you reach the afterlife, be sure and tell Helmer, too." may be badly written or badly translated because it makes no sense when Helmer is not dead. However, the database states that Sergius was on his way to attack Second Miltia with Proto-Omega, which is interesting since in the actual game he seemed to be stuck with it inside the Omega System. Another reflection of the original scenario?
"The Patriarch laughed at them, calling them nothing more than insects, and moved to destroy Second Miltia to demonstrate his god-like power."
- Xenosaga III database
MOMO's "Please promise me. Promise you'll come back." sounds like a mirroring with Bart's similar plead to Fei at the end of Xenogears.
|Conversation among the Testaments when Wilhelm returns with White Testament.||Conversation among the Gazel elders when Karellen returns with Emeralda.|
|Episode II Ends|
The syncing is mostly off from this point on up till Episode III. But conceptual wise, and sometimes visually, you can still tell what they probably had in mind for more mirroring. It's not hard to see that Scientia and Fifth Jerusalem give off strong vibes of Shevat and Solaris respectively. The rest of the mirroring for what I've referred to as "Act II" looks like this:
I think that the Mid-Point context shift is a little more clearly defined in Xenosaga since we already learned a lot about Solaris and the surface-dwellers situation in the Ethos data banks. But learning about the Limiters and then having them removed is still poignant enough that you feel this is the Mid-Point and from here on it is going to be different. There are many definitions of the Mid-Point out there, but basically before the Mid-Point both the protagonist and the reader experienced the story with limited awareness of the real truth behind what's going on. It does not necessarily change the story from here on out, but because it reveals significant new information, everything after the Mid-Point carries new weight and dramatic tension. Also, most classic screenplay writing will probably only have 3 acts with the Mid-Point centered in the middle of a long second act. However, it seems to me that it is possible to think of 4 acts, and perhaps even more if we're dealing with a really long narrative. For example, we could've divided the story up till the Mid-Point into 5 Acts:
Set-up (Woglinde / Lahan) (I);
Aveh~Nisan / Pleroma~Cathedral Ship (II);
Kukai Foundation / Kislev Empire (III);
Second Miltia~Old Miltia / Aquvy~Zeboim (IV); and
Scientia~Ars Nova / Babel Tower~Shevat (V).
Also, this new information will be the catalyst for the hero to evolve from a "response mode" to an "attack mode," which we will see at the beginning of Act III in both Xenogears and Xenosaga. Thus we can see that both stories sync up in this regard.
Ars Nova and Babel Tower
Cathedral Ship already had some conceptual parallels with Babel Tower in the concept of traversing the remnants of an entire civilization that had disappeared with roads, structures, and buildings that give away the true nature of the place, but without the characters actually realizing just what it is they are witnessing. However, I think a more proper mirroring would've synced up here as well, and Ars Nova in Xenosaga (reversing the order of segments that are synced slighly, as have been done before), with the memories of Nephilim showing things from our Lost Jerusalem civilization, seems to fit the best. It would make a lot of sense since Babel Tower was a reference back to the opening movie, and traversing Ars Nova - the memories of Nephilim - would then have referenced the opening movie of Xenosaga, with images of Lost Jerusalem in 20XX.
Doctus and Maria
Although many people probably questioned the need to introduce the character Doctus into the story, once you recognize how Xenogears and Xenosaga are mirrored it makes sense for there to be an introduction of yet another major character. Shevat isn't even the last place to introduce major characters, since we are introduced to Elly's family in Solaris (which I think is the last part to introduce new characters with portraits in the game. Well there's Roni and Rene on Disc 2, but they're flashback characters). We should also recognize the link between Doctus and Melisse in the story, with Melisse being the person who established the Scientia faction from the previous V.L.V. organization. This could be said to mirror Queen Zephyr who is also a survivor from the past, even though I have often compared her more with Juli Mizrahi. However, I think the mirroring with Doctus may be just as strong, with Juli, Melisse, Doctus, and Zephyr all being independent women with resources who are allied with the protagonists. The main mirroring here, however, seems to be between Doctus and Maria. Both originally show up quite aggressively (Doctus more so than Maria), Seibzehn and Doctus are both housing a consciousness, and both subsequently follows the protagonist after their introductory arc is over. Doctus is never made a playable character though and I wonder if she originally was meant to be one, since Xenosaga have fewer playable characters than Xenogears did, and I doubt Allen and Miyuki were meant to be playable originally.
Scientia is also tied in with Pied Piper, and this marks the introduction of the fourth "survivor" from 100 years ago (not including Dmitri Yuriev, Wilhelm or chaos), with Ziggy (Jan), Canaan (Lactis), and Voyager (Erich) being the first three. While it is never officially confirmed that Doctus is Melisse, it is strongly hinted at. Doctus' A.G.W.S. is called Astraea who was a personification of justice and is also the symbol for the Justice Tarot Card. The connection to justice is strongly reminiscent of Melisse, as it is made clear in several places (and even in her tech attacks) that the ideal of justice is paramount to her. Thus it seems Voyager and Doctus were to be introduced before we'd learn anything about their pasts just like with Ziggy and Canaan.
Scientia and Shevat
The mirroring between Scientia and Shevat is easy to see I think, with both being an independent faction that has successfully resisted Solaris/Vector and has roots in the far past, and from here on serving as a powerful ally for the protagonists. What the scenario in the A Missing Year neglects however, is the other cast of characters such as Jr., MOMO, chaos, and Ziggy. You don't even see Allen or Canaan during this substory. This, of course, is likely attributed to Yonesaka being credited with the scenario, since I believe Takahashi would've had the entire playable cast present during this arc originally. The summary in the database does state that Juli commissioned the Kukai Foundation to investigate the Gnosis terrorism, and that the mission "would be undertaken by Jr., Jin, and company." However, we never see "Jr. and company" in A Missing Year. I also doubt the original scenario would've let any significant amount of time pass between the end of the Jr./Albedo arc and the Scientia arc, since there wasn't any significant leap of time between the Billy/Jessie arc and Babel Tower/Shevat. If there was a break, it would've been after the Scientia arc like there seemed to be after the Shevat arc. As with Episode II Takahashi is credited as "Supervisor and Original Author." The director this time, however, was Nagata Yoko, and the art was drawn by Shibue Yasushi. Despite the flashmovie nature of the whole thing, quite a bit of effort seemed to have gone into the whole thing, what with Yuki Kajiura writing a whole score for it, and you get the feeling that this really was meant to be included in the main episodes originally.
There's another short conversation among the Gazel Ministry here, though it is pretty straight forward. No doubt some more scenes with Wilhelm and/or the Testaments should've appeared in the original scenario here, as Rennes-le-Château should've appeared by now. Since it surely would take some time to complete T-elos, I'd imagine originally there would've been scenes with Wilhelm and Red Testament discussing Shion's contact with Scientia too.
Maria's connection to Seibzehn also seems to mirror Shion's story a bit, with both females being attached to a creation that connects them with a special person they don't want to forget: "My father's voice, his smiles... are leaving me. They are far away, becoming obscure... I believed this would never happen... I swore I 'd never forget...! Now, the only connection between my father and me is this Seibzehn..."
There's also mirroring between Kevin and Nikolai as well, with both being scientists / weapon developers, who offers to preserve the person they love most to be with them forever. Both appear 'reborn' in new 'immortal bodies' (both in the color red), others claim they "aren't the same anymore" but Maria/Shion don't listen, and both have similar looks and personalities as well, though it is difficult to determine Nikolai's true personality due to the brainwashing and lack of screentime.
Grimoire and Nikolai
Here we have two twisted fathers who are obsessed with their daughters, wishing the best for them but impossible for their daughters to accept due to their destructive nature. Neither makes a very long appearance in the story. I already compared Nikolai with Kevin, but the mirroring with a father-type sync up better, enough that I consider this mirroring more relevant here. The scene with Nikolai interestingly reflects the theme of wanting to surpass the imperfect human condition and strive for godhood or become "superhuman," which is the prominent theme in Xenosaga.
I always found Maria's scream here to be powerful, despite the lack of voice work. Similarly, in Xenosaga, we have some equally touching moments when Shion gets to share Almadel's memories and Almadel acknowledges her own identity. The scene where Almadel turns into salt and dies is as emotional as when Nikolai destroys himself, and Shion's reaction is as strong as Maria's was. I get the feeling that this was intentionally mirrored with Nikolai's destruction, even though they're completely different conceptual wise. I find that I like Almadel's death even better than Nikolai's. Since they introduced the idea of people turning into salt, I always wondered why they didn't pull something more dramatic with that concept, so this death really completes the concept on a dramatic level.
Also, this could very well be a coincidence, but Jin slaps Shion in the face when she refuses to escape the collapsing Ars Nova, which sort of mirrors when Shitan slapped Ramsus for not pulling himself together near the end of Xenogears. Given that Jin and Shitan are similar, and the slapping is justified in a similar way, it could very well be intentional.
I place the beginning of Act III here after Scientia arc (Xenosaga) and Shevat arc (Xenogears) respectively, because everything seems to carry new dramatic tension here after what the hero learned during these two arcs. One thing that strikes you, however, is how completely off the mirroring is here between the two works compared to how it has been up to now. The mirroring will sort of get back on track eventually, but straight after A Missing Year the story in Xenosaga, which originally followed close to Xenogears' story structure, seems to have been butchered. Something is definitely missing here.
|Act III - attack||Act III - attack|
Time for hero to step up and get down to business. Proactive attack to solve the problem at hand.
Infiltrating Vector's S-Line Division.
Battle over Rennes-le-Château.
Time for hero to step up and get down to business. Proactive attack to solve the problem at hand.
Protect Nisan and focus on Bart and Margie's story arc (the conclusion) + Gate 1.
Attacking the remaining Gates that has concealed Solaris: Gate 2 -Babel.
Gate 3 -The Deep
While Infiltrating Vector's S-Line Division and destroying the Gates that has concealed Solaris sounds equal enough in theory, in reality there's a huge chunk of story that goes down during the "Gates arc." Most notably, we defeat a major villain and wrap up an entire character arc, we face old enemies once more at Babel, and we get one more playable character. The next point we get another mirroring isn't until Solaris/Fifth Jerusalem, so there seems to be a lot of story missing here for Xenosaga.
Thinking about what could potentially have filled this part we're pretty much only left with Ziggy's story, which in itself is interesting as we will see. This would be the one part where a huge chunk of Pied Piper wouldn't be jarring with Xenogears' story structure, given that something needed to fill this part. Since Bart's story wraps up here, and as Ziggy and Bart are both Soraya's characters (who were also mirrored/synced in their introduction) it also makes sense in that respect. In fact, the majority of Soraya's writing in the two works have more or less synced up starting with the introduction of Ziggy/Bart and followed by the Rubedo/Billy mirroring. However, it seems Soraya's characters and writing got spread out a bit more in Xenosaga so there would've been no showdown with Yuriev or Voyager yet even if Stein and Shakhan bit it early in Xenogears. Bart and co uncovering the past in the form of the Ft. Jasper and El Andvari could easily have been mirrored with an uncovering of Ziggy's past, and was likely done so in the original scenario.
Soraya's FAQ said that the original scenario did include Ziggy's background "as seen in the Pied Piper," but also that she "rewrote" it. Should we then conclude that the rewrite made it longer or more self-contained? In any case it seems she didn't change anything fundamental. While this makes it sound like Soraya wrote the whole background story, the Pied Piper games themselves were marketed as "written by original creator Tetsuya Takahashi," so no doubt he wrote for it as well. Also, there were some mild changes by Monolithsoft, but the biggest changes were towards the end of it. What they were I don't know, but revealing that Abraxas was Planet Michtam was likely one of them (as I've already speculated).
In fact, if you think about Xenosaga's story being divided into two episodes originally, then perhaps the opening of Episode II was meant to begin in the past, like Arai's Episode II did, with a playable flashback of Pied Piper's events before returning to the present. That actually makes the most sense to me, and would indeed give you the backstory of everything as seen in Pied Piper, like Soraya said. It makes sense when Ziggy, Canaan, Voyager, Doctus, Yuriev, and Wilhelm have all been introduced at this point.
The only other story elements I can think of that might've helped fill the Gates mirrorings are elements from the DS version, such as an additional confrontation with Blue Testament where Shion reveals her fear and racism towards Realians when screaming and calling MOMO "Realian," since somehow I doubt that was in the original Episode II scenario (it would've been jarring with the Xenogears mirroring). Likely, once they had to cut the story down Takahashi moved it to the "episode 2" part of Xenosaga I-II. The same could be said for other scenes, such as the Jupiter Crisis reference, Wilhelm providing the party with E.S.s, development on the Yuriev/Salvator situation, etc, and possibly the scenes of Ormus taking back control of Planet Michtam as mentioned by Helmer at the beginning of Episode III (for example, when Pellegri orders Richard and Hermann to withdraw from Old Miltia in the DS version, she says they must withdraw to their "homeland," which would fit better here and could've been mirrored with the Elements attacking Ft. Jasper and Babel Tower). We must also not forget the investigation of Rennes-le-Château, though I imagine that would've gone down differently. Even though Shion resigned from Vector at the end of Scientia arc, most likely the party of characters - including Doctus - would've stuck together still.
I will start looking at some potential mirroring between the resolution of Bart's arc and that of Ziggy's backstory here:
Here the Outside of Nisan would be mirrored with the Archon Police station and Nisan itself being mirrored with the Assembly Hall virtual reality setting. There's a briefing between Bart and Sigurd that's mirrored in the briefing between Jan and Erich/Mikhail. Margie and Melisse are mirrored in that they are young women who won't stay put and goes ahead to get very involved in the action. We should also note that in Xenogears, use of narration already starts here, not just on Disc 2, even though it is fairly short and easy to forget:
However, the Fatima Jasper and the legendary treasures of the Aveh royal family were still in danger.
And now, he's going to play his last card and Shakhan's true intentions will be brought to light.
Honestly, this narration is pretty useless and didn't even need to be here, but it gives you the impression that this part was rushed, and there's more evidence of cuts at Gate 2 - Babel Tower. And so, we can determine that the cuts and compromises started at least as early as here, which makes it more probable that Xenosaga's corresponding arc at this point - Ziggy's backstory - may very well have been intended to be longer as well. If we think of it that way, then putting the entire Pied Piper story at what corresponds to Protect Nisan / Gate 1 -Margie may not be that farfetched or jarring with the mirroring at all. And so, the Goodwill Ambassador incident would be the equivalent of freeing Nisan from Shakhan's army. Note that both Shakhan and Voyager are seemingly absent for this event, which is intentional on their part.
A neat thing here is that in response to Melisse's request that he helps her out with the mission, Lactis says: "I'll see the mission through. Realians like myself were created for this purpose. Whether it's the Captain or you, that's the duty I was charged with - seeing the mission through to the very end." This foreshadows Canaan's end when he sacrifices himself for the mission. Great introduction here. Since Takahashi and Soraya wrote Pied Piper I'm pretty sure now that they always intended for Lactis (Canaan) to ultimately sacrifice himself.
Once they arrive at their destination point, they find nothing but an empty room. This seems to mirror not finding a trace of the residents in Nisan after defeating and driving away Shakhan's army. And after the incident where Erich is deleted in virtual space and interference from outside appears to have ceased, there's a scene where stairs appear, sinking down into an underground area, leading to the ambassadors. This sounds like (based on descriptions from Pied Piper's translator) mirroring with the very long stairs leading down into the mausoleum behind the Nisan Cathedral.
Next we're introduced to Dr. Sharon Rozas who manages to save all but Erich and one of the ambassador children. This scene is mirrored with a scene in the Zeboim flashbacks much later on in Xenogears:
While Jan is talking to Sharon about Erich's condition, Melisse interferes and says a criminal has broken into the VR central mainframe inside a nursing plant, and based on the decay pattern of the perpetrator's protection, they've calculated that there is a 98.28% chance it's Voyager. Sharon is distressed that "...He's after young lives again."
"...He's after young lives again."
"They plan to use the former Mother's retinas."
What appears to be mirrored here is the unholy act of mutilating unborn children and the corpse of a holy woman respectively, in order for the villain to get what he wants. Both Melisse and Margie are angry and upset over this.
The equivalent of the Child Care Facility/VR: Central Mainframe in Xenogears is the Mausoleum before entering Fort Jasper from inside it. More battles, but still no sign of Voyager/Shakhan.
Bart and Ziggy sync a lot, and both are written by Soraya, so these speeches seem like mirroring, even though they are out of sync. Bart got a lot more focus than Ziggy in the beginning, mostly because Bart's previous arc was longer than Ziggy's in Episode I, and I guess that's why it makes sense that some mirroring from the Aveh arc was moved to Ziggy's backstory here, such as this speech. Since Pied Piper is a bit longer than Protect Nisan/Gate 1, there could also be more mirroring from the earlier Aveh arc that I've missed.
I don't know if this was intentional mirroring, but Jan and co trying to get Klaus' corpse through the Police Station without being seen (to accomplish an illegal dive) reminds me of when you have to get past the security cubes in Solaris in Xenogears.
There was a line in the very first Xenosaga trailer (the keyword trailer) that read: "I always wondered... Why were we brought into this world?" It ultimately wasn't in the series I think, but here Melisse has a line that reminds me of it somewhat:
"I've thought about this before. Somewhere far away, and a long time ago... I wondered, before we're born into existence, does our consciousness exist as part of an all-encompassing mind? A consciousness that exists everywhere, and the moment we accept life, we're torn away from that circle. "Joining the circle once more." Maybe that's the true purpose of existence..."
Oh, and after this we have the Jan childhood flashback that mirrors Rico's childhood flashback in Xenogears, but I already covered that. As for the rest of this Klaus business, I can only see the following resemblance between the two works here, besides the Jan-childhood-flashback:
Inscription in Klaus' room is in Hebrew.
Klaus' shadow reminds us of the main theme.
Inscription in Andvari's room is in Old Fatima.
Angel statues reminds us of the main theme.
The return of the main theme sort of sync here, with perhaps an image of raindrops streaming down a window to illustrate visually what Klaus' shadow was saying. The picture of Klaus' room, which had a Hebrew Bible quote written on the wall, gives a similar kind of vibe as the inscription left under El Andvari. The angel statues symbolize humans working together, and here we have Bart and Margie cooperating to open the door.
And we finally come back to the flashback seen early on in Episode I, when Jan have bought Nexus 6 for Joaquin. As far as mirroring with Xenogears goes, perhaps we can think of the Jan/Sharon love story as being mirrored with the one for Bart/Margie - which do get developed here, even though there's never a real payoff to it in the game. Also, in the further development to Ziggy's flashback back in Pleroma with Nexus 6, we can think of El Andvari as being mirrored with its further development to Bart's ancient scroll back in Pirates' Hideout.
When Shakhan's soldiers secure the area, it makes me think of when the police, due to Yuriev's influence, turns on Jan and his squad. Speaking of that, Lactis helping Jan and the others out of captivity feels mirrored with Sigurd (and Shitan) helping Bart out, opening the Jasper lock when Margie is absent. Also, in Xenosaga, we return to the fear theme when Bugs and Erich reflect on death after being forced to destroy a support robot from the same series as Bugs. The grief theme also reappear in Xenogears when Bart almost loses Margie who has been shot:
Theme of fear:
Bugs: "Erich. Will I be like this too someday?"
Erich: "You mean, dead? Bugs, are you scared of being scrapped?"
Bugs: "To me, the concept of fear is a mystery. But I can deduce that humans feel afraid of death."
Erich: "Death is the same to us as disposal is to you. From the moment we're born, we're counting down to death. No one can escape it. Maybe we humans are being scrapped too… from the world."
Bugs: "I suppose someone made out of artificial parts like me could live any number of years. When I think about it that way, maybe we're luckier than humans... If you could completely control the deterioration of your bodies, maybe you could conquer death too."
Erich: "Well, humans try very hard to do that. Very hard..."
Erich: "Hey, we're lagging behind. Let's catch up."
Theme of grief:
Bart: "Hey, Margie... you OK? Margie! Margie, wake up!! Margie!!"
Citan: "Fortunately, the bullet passed through. I will apply some first aid."
Citan: "Later, when we return to the city, we should have it looked over thoroughly."
Bart: "Good... I'm glad. When she passed out I thought the worst."
Bart: "...How ya feelin'?"
Margie: "...Okay. You know, when I passed out, I still heard your voice. For some strange reason...your cries reached me. That's why I thought I had to help you..."
Bart: "... Oh. We were fighting together, weren't we? You protected me."
Bart: "But, is this really the legendary Gear in the scroll of our founding nation?"
In particular, the line "...your cries reached me" is of the grief and sorrow theme, but in a more positive light where it helped Margie hang in there. The two of them fighting "together" also connects with the imagery of the angel statues.
Veritas Hideout and Return to Nisan
We have a short regrouping before the climax of this arc where new information is uncovered:
The scene at Veritas is longer than the scene at Nisan, but overall Jan's backstory isn't as long as I remember it. It is certainly longer than the "Protect Nisan ~ Gate 1" arc, but not a lot longer. And there's plenty of dialogue during Xenogears at this point, more than I remember. Block 53 and everything before the Pilgrimage Council doesn't have a counterpart in Xenogears though, since unlike with Shakhan, Erich needs exposition on how he became Voyager, but I think you can figure out by now how the mirroring between Pied Piper and Shakhan's arc concludes.
It is neat that we get to see more of the Original Zohar here during the Pilgrimage Council, even though the Zohar had been swallowed by Abel's Ark in the present (well, neat if it had been part of the main episodes). In a similar way, it makes sense that Albedo, who is mainly mirrored with Id, is absent since the end of the Old Miltia arc (not counting White Testament), since the Aquvy arc was the last time we saw Id (and we won't see Id again until the end of the Solaris arc).
Finally, the Cathedral of the Pilgrimage Council is mirrored with the Gate generator interior, and the confrontation with Voyager is mirrored with the confrontation with Shakhan inside:
And that's more or less it. Pied Piper fitting pretty neatly into Xenogears' story structure. This would have been awesome if it was part of the main episodes, though I don't know how they would've presented it in the context of the present-day plot. Probably the "original Episode II" would have begun as a playable flashback with Jan and co, since an encephalon dive wouldn't show scenes like the ones of Yuriev, Sergius and Wilhelm when they weren't interacted with by Jan a 100 years ago. Also, if Doctus was originally a main playable character, then Melisse/Pied Piper events would basically be her background story as well as Ziggy's. That's actually a pretty neat way of tying everyones story together in a more even way than how Xenogears did it.
As far as Gate 2 and 3 are concerned, I don't know what the intended mirroring could have been. But I'm going to assume it was something like the battle over Rennes-le-Château and Vector S-Line Division infiltration but with either the cast splitting up, or having the full playable cast at both places - including Doctus. Rennes-le-Château seems to mirror Babel Tower somewhat since you fight "old enemies" (Gebler Elements and Ormus) while the place itself is a remnant of the time of the opening movie. I'm also curious who would've been the 9th playable character originally if they had intended to have the same amount as Xenogears:
(Order of appearance)
Fei - Shion (Main character.)
Shitan - KOS-MOS (Introduced in Act I with main character. Protects main character.)
Elly - chaos (Introduced in the beginning of Act II. Mysterious introduction. Their physical body is plot-relevant.)
Bart - Ziggy (Both do stealth missions to rescue a girl.)
Margie/Chu-Chu - MOMO (Captured girl. Margie is not playable, but Chu-Chu is playable later.)
Rico - Jr. (Influential character in Kislev/Kukai Foundation arc.)
Billy - Jin (Introduced as skilled, helpful ally in Aquvy/Second Miltia arc.)
Maria - Doctus (Seibzehn and Doctus are both remote controlled.)
Emeralda - ? (Not mirrored with anyone since Xenosaga's original structure fell apart at that point.)
|n/a||Ninth and final main (playable) character is introduced - Emeralda.|
There is a possibility that the 9th character would've been a "cute" mascot type character like Chu-Chu, since all the other characters have a similar counter-part except her:
Fei - Shion (Main character.)
Elly - KOS-MOS (Deeply tied with main character through ancient past.)
Shitan - Jin (Almost identical.)
Bart - Jr. (Young/Little Master support character.)
Emeralda - MOMO (Artificial girl that antagonists wants data from.)
Rico - Ziggy (Half-human characters with mirrored childhood flashbacks.)
Billy - chaos (Healer, bishounen character.)
Maria - Doctus (Aggressive females, remote control "machines" in battle.)
Chu-Chu - ? (Not mirrored with anyone.)
Maybe Bugs was the 9th character? Maybe Bugs would've been rebuilt or revived from the past like Emeralda? Or maybe just being playable during the flashback arc was the extent of the intended mirroring?
Bugs and Emeralda both being artificial "robot" characters, makes them similar. Bugs also have a lot in common with Chu-Chu. Both are young (Bugs has an A.I. that emulates a young boy and Chu-Chu is only a little over 1 year old), both are attached to- and love another character (Bugs love Erich and Chu-Chu loves Fei), and both can become surprisingly aggressive and powerful (Bugs have all sorts of powerful armament that he can bring out, and does so to try and take down Erich at one point, while Chu-Chu can grow to gigantic size, and does so to protect Shevat and the protagonists at one point). Bugs' love for Erich could also be said to mirror Emeralda's love for Fei. So, yeah, it really does seem like Bugs is the best candidate for Ninth playable character in Xenosaga. Perhaps being destroyed in the kamikaze strike at Erich near the end of Pied Piper was only added by Monolithsoft? Though I think being playable only in the flashback may have been the extent of its mirroring.
In terms of writing, Episode III, from the start, doesn't really feel like the style of Xenogears, Xenosaga Episode I or Xenosaga: Pied Piper. The style is somewhere in between Episode I and Yonesaka's Episode II / A Missing Year. There are also new elements, such as Doctus' Latin, that doesn't really have a precedent in the series and feels new and a bit weird. This is also reflected in the credits where Tetsuya Takahashi is credited as "Author, Music coordinator, Supervisor of scenario and database" rather than "Original Author & Supervisor." Since Norihiko Yonesaka is still credited as "Scenario writer," one wonders what the difference between "Author" and "Scenario writer" is in this case, as opposed to "Original Author" and "Scenario writer." It is definitely possible to spot some very Takahashi-esque characterization, messages and dialogue in this game though.
As far as the S-Line infiltration mission goes, I question the team of protagonists and Shion's location in the real world as well as her narration in the journey to Fifth Jerusalem being in the original scenario. I also question the inclusion of Scott and the Professor in story cutscenes. That's why I wonder if the Miyuki antics were in the original scenario.
I think Yuriev's reaction to Vector's involvement in "the Lemegeton incident" would've been interesting to see if it was in the original scenario. Anyway, it is now time for the next set of mirrorings, the first real visible ones in Episode III:
The major influental/advanced capital of this star cluster's current civilization.
The major influental/advanced capital of this planet's current civilization.
It doesn't get much more clear than this. The Orbital Tower and Etemenanki (Etrenank) even look similar. The difference is another one of those inversions in the mirroring (such as the one between the opening movies) where Fifth Jerusalem is below the Orbital Tower while Solaris' capital Etemenanki is at the top of an identical tower. Also, while this doesn't sync, the barrier that needs to be penetrated by Seibzehn in order to reach Etemenanki have a similar feel to it as the barrier that needs to be penetrated by KOS-MOS' phase transfer cannon in order to reach Rennes-le-Câteau.
The first time I got to Solaris it seemed like such a scary place, and the music ("Flight") was epic. To this day it is my favorite part of Xenogears. The momentum was unforgettable, and at times the moments between the characters before going seemed like it was the end of the first season of a TV series or something. It almost didn't feel real that I was actually going to go there and see the place. If the game had ended with a cliffhanger right there, it still would have felt like quite the journey. Comparing the story structure with Xenosaga it isn't difficult to see why. Both have already covered a lot of story by this point. One thing does stand out as a stark difference between them though, in that Xenosaga lacks the momentum here that Xenogears had.
There could be several reasons for this, both intentional and unintentional. For example, in the process of butchering the original scenario and beginning a new game right at the start of the Fifth Jerusalem arc, the story needs to start slow in order to build up the excitement again. However, it is also possible that Fifth Jerusalem was always meant to be less eventful and exciting, as another inverted mirroring to contrast Xenogears. Fei, Elly and Shitan also acted solo for the most part in Solaris without the ability to change party members, which do sync up with Shion acting mainly solo with Allen and Miyuki/Doctus.
Project Zohar and Arabot Plaza
The mirroring continues rather strong in these places. Emperor Cain here is not the real Cain but an imitation. It's basically a dummy, not a "clone" like the U.S. version incorrectly translated it earlier. I wonder if the Cain/T-elos mirroring was intentional. Both are "gods," so probably. There's also the music in the hotel lobby and Arabot Plaza that has some similarities in composition. Since Takahashi was in charge of music coordination, I wonder if that was not intentional. I also wonder if Roth Mantel might not be mirrored with Samson. Both are characters with whom the protagonists see a resemblance to another character that died in their past - Kevin and Timothy. The Samson character has always been weird to me, since we never got an explanation for why he looked like Timothy. Maybe they improvised that bit after they choose to reuse Timothy's sprite from their limited supply?
Also, although this is out of sync, we might consider Fei's flashback upon seeing Karellen be mirrored later in Xenosaga with Shion's short memory of Mary Magdalene upon looking at T-elos after T-elos defeats KOS-MOS - back to a far past when these were comrades. Actually, that fits pretty well.
We have a shower scene here that is mirrored later in Xenosaga, but although they do not sync up there's a mirroring in that Fei gets to come into Elly's room while Allen had been invited to Shion's hotelroom before the Weapon Demonstration.
There's a similarity between Jessie's words of warning to Shitan before going to Solaris and Doctus' words of warning to Canaan here too:
|Doctus: "Oh, and one warning. Even if you weren't aware of the program's existence, it still affects your behavior. If you interfere with us, even if it isn't you own will, we won't hesitate to eliminate you. Keep that in mind."||
Jessie: "Don't misunderstand me. It doesn't mean I'll help you. I don't know what you're thinking or trying to do... But, if you take their side, I'll kill you without a doubt. Even from the back..."
I'm pretty sure this was intentional mirroring. It is interesting that Shitan and Canaan both pretend to betray the protagonists, in an attempt to actually help them.
Another mirroring is seen in the disposal area. Notice how Allen falls on his back on the garbage while they are looking for KOS-MOS. This is what happens to Fei, Elly and Shitan when they infiltrate Solaris' inner sanctum through the dust chute and gets spat out with the garbage. They all end up laying in the garbage. Probably this idea originally came from the Death Star's disposal area in Star Wars where Han, Luke and Leia ends up, but here there's no peril or monster around.
Omega and Opiomorph are mirrored. Should be rather obvious.
These conversations between Kevin/Virgil and Karellen/Miang have a similar style to it, with plans set in motion and Virgil/Miang teasing and asking what Kevin/Karellen feel are "stupid questions."
When Ramsus stays on the bridge of the exploding gate in Solaris that Shitan and Jessie blew up, it looks a lot like a mirroring with Margulis as he walked through smoke and fire after Ziggy blew up the explosive devices when escaping from Pleroma. Both great scenes that shows what badasses these two commanders are. Since Ramsus doesn't even seem to get a scratch here I wonder if it was a way of showing that he is ultimately indestructible like Cain was? He is Cain's copy after all...
The end of this arc in both works doesn't occur in Solaris/Fifth Jerusalem, but when Weltall and KOS-MOS are destroyed. Another mirroring is the masked duo that appears here, even though Grahf and Executioner do appear in Solaris (thus making it a little out of sync). It's interesting that Id and Albedo both reappears at the end of this arc, having not been seen since Zeboim/Old Miltia. It seriously makes me consider it being intentional that Albedo doesn't do much past Episode II and little in Episode III, because it does mirror very nicely with Id.
I suppose KOS-MOS vs T-elos can be considered mirroring with Ramsus vs Fei (Vendetta vs Weltall). Both are "cutscene battles," and both lead to the destruction of KOS-MOS and Weltall - the two military developed plot-devices that have been mirrored from the start. T-elos and Ramsus (Vendetta) are also the "rivals" of KOS-MOS and Fei (Weltall).
|EP.3: Chapter 3 ends with destruction of KOS-MOS.||XG: Disc 1 ends with destruction of Weltall.|
Also, before I forget (since it's an optional boss), Omega-Id is sort of a cameo appearance of Weltall-Id. While Omega Universitas could fit into the story in a future story arc and replace Weltall, I think the fact that it has no reason to exist in the ongoing story and events makes it feel like a cameo only (being optional). The design is also vastly inferior I think, like they didn't put as much effort into it - making it kind of goofy looking and cameo-esque (similar to the mini Vierge and mini Weltall on Omega Metempsychosis).
Xenogears' infamous Disc 2 begins here, and during this disc the story has been abridged and was told in a less involving way from the first disc or the rest of Xenosaga III. Yet, finding more mirroring did not turn out to be all that difficult.
Shion dreams of Kevin.
Dream is a memory from the past.
Fei dreams of Elly / Elly dreams of Fei.
Dreams are memories from the past.
Xenosaga III's chapter 4 starts with a romantic flashback of Shion and Kevin and Xenogears disc 2 starts with a romantic flashback of Lacan and Sophia (Fei and Elly's past life). This mirroring is probably from the original scenario. It is that style. As is both Shion and Fei waking up in a forest after this:
|Forest - Old Miltia. Shion wakes up.||Forest - Taura's House. Fei wakes up.|
The difference here is that Fei and Elly were seriously injured, so Fei is waking up in a nanoreactor. Still, this feels like the original scenario, especially since Soraya's removed scenes list included "the Ghost of Old Miltia," and this place fits that description perfectly. However, from here on we have almost entire chapters in Xenosaga III going by before we have any mirroring. The main reason for this, I think, is because Xenogears Disc 2 was abridged. But it can also be a result of the scenario changing a bit in Xenosaga. It's very hard to tell.
The first thing that is likely to be questioned is the Mai Magus character, which we encounter here in chapter 4. While Leupold's introduction is mirroring with Calamity seen far back in the Stalactite Cavern at the beginning of Xenogears, the style of the mirroring is far too obvious and blunt for it to feel like the style of mirroring we've encountered before. The mirroring has always been more subtle, usually done with some tweak or inversion that makes it easy to overlook - to the point that you might never notice it. But this is not mirroring as much as it is...the same thing. You've not only got an automated machine flying around in a cavern, you have it looking almost exactly like Siebzehn, and in addition you've got Mai being the same character as Maria (only more stressed, and a little older) and she even got a grandfather that looks like Ol' man Bal, and her father's name (Tethla) is another reference to Nikola Tesla, just like Maria's father Nikolai was in Xenogears.
What creates doubt is that the Stalactite Cavern didn't get mirroring back at the beginning, suggesting they may have pushed such mirroring to these late story events (they did do that with Grahf's encounter), and Vanderkam was pretty much equally the same character as he was in Xenogears, right down to his name and the battles you do with him. Also, since we're dealing with reincarnations in the story, and as we already have incarnations of Fei (Abel), Elly (Nephilim), Shitan (Jin), Bart (Virgil), Karellen (Richard), Hammer (Hammer), Big Joe (Great Joe), and possibly more, I'd say this cameo could have been intended from the start. Maria certainly was a very popular character in Japan. So, given that there's an otherwise lack of mirroring during this part, the verdict is that there may have been a cameo here all along even if not exactly like it plays out here. Since we encounter Ol' man Bal again in Xenogears at Taura's house, at least that part syncs up with Aizen Magus.
Juli: "[...] there's been a new development in the Federation government. I wanted to inform you at once."
Juli: "The Federation government is moving forward with plans for a full-scale invasion. [...] Planet Michtam. The Federation fleet has already set course and is employing the newly-completed Merkabah."
Shevat Emissary: "Fei...! We've got problems!!"
Shevat Emissary: "Today, a peace settlement between Aveh and Kislev is being held at Shevat... But, Solaris' mobile weapons are approaching Shevat as we speak! Please, help us!"
At the beginning of Chapter 5 we get this development concerning the war from Juli Mizrahi, which appears to mirror Solaris' mobile weapons approaching Shevat and Ignas in Xenogears (still at Taura's house). Probably this was in the original scenario. Already back in Xenogears: Perfect Works, in the History section on Xenogears Episode I, it was said that the first story arc would focus on the intensification and outbreak of the interstellar war.
People in Labyrinthos on Old Miltia are being treated and used.
Attempt to control fear.
Mutated people in Soylent Facilities are being treated and used.
Attempt to control grief.
There is some similarity between the people that are being treated in the Acute Neurosis Treatment Facility on Old Miltia and the people that are being treated in the Soylent Facilities because of their mutations. These situations are also relevant to the main theme, with the people like Shion's mother suffering from fear of U-DO while the mutated people are suffering from grief after having lost their human form. The Soylent facilities have a similar look as Labyrinthos, and both are exploitative "treatments" used for specific purposes by the antagonists. The Soylent part is narrated in Xenogears, but I guess it would be similar to the infiltrating Labyrinthos part in Xenosaga. Also, the Soylent part occurs a bit ahead, after Weltall is restored and after the Mass-Driver part.
Virgil being embarrased over getting a flower from young Shion near the end of chapter 5 is similar to the scene back in Thames where Bart was embarassed when Margie came in and interupted his man-to-man talk with the Captain of the Thames. Though this might have more to do with the fact that Bart and Virgil have the same personality type than intentional mirroring. In fact, perhaps we should think of most of the mirroring as being conceived more as similar "style" than mirroring. "Mirroring" is, after all, just a word I've chosen.
Moving on to chapter 6 in Xenosaga III. I think much of what appears must've been intended for the original scenario. The stuff about Kevin is stuff we've been waiting for, his characterization fits with the name Winnicot that Takahashi gave him (Winnicot's "true self and false self" and "the anti-social tendency" are part of Kevin's characterization), and "Shion's past history with Febronia" was mentioned in Soraya's scenes list. What we learn about Febronia and Virgil also fits with the old leaked information about Xenosaga.
During chapter 6, we finally get the next Weltall/KOS-MOS mirroring when KOS-MOS is restored and upgraded:
|KOS-MOS is restored and upgraded.||Weltall is restored and upgraded.|
Note that we haven't progressed much in Xenogears yet. We're still at Taura's house after Fei and Elly woke up. Shion's shower scene was mirrored earlier in Xenogears though, with Fei and Elly's shower scenes in Solaris. KOS-MOS and Weltall both gets to show off their new forms in a battle, but there's not much more happening here in the way of mirroring. This is the first and only battle KOS-MOS has with Voyager, while Fei has a rematch with Ramsus' Vendetta right away. KOS-MOS' rematch with T-elos doesn't occur until much later, and it is instead mirrored/synced with Fei's rematch with Grahf's Original Weltall.
And then we get the Mass-Driver part (narrated), and after that the Soylent part that was mirrored with the hospital in Labyrinthos.
About the Mass-Driver that launches Taura's nanomachines... It looks similar to what Kevin's mother uses to launch child Kevin away from Planet Michtam. At least the two launch things seem similar, though I can't find good comparison pics when we never really get a good look at it from the outside in Xenosaga. Since the "original Episode II" was probably going to start with a playable flashback of Ziggy's backstory (Pied Piper), I wonder where the current Episode III intro would've originally been shown? Kevin getting the pendant from his mother and then giving it to Shion mirrors Fei getting his Nisan pendant from his mother and then giving it to Elly. However, the whole thing does not sync. Otherwise Kevin's mother's death and Karen's death (protecting their child) seems like mirroring too.
|Protagonists collect Vessels of Anima and puts them back in their E.S. crafts.||Protagonists collect Vessels of Anima and get Omnigears for Billy and Rico.|
This should be pretty straight-forward, but I guess it is still difficult to spot this mirroring. The feel of it is very different, and they do not sync perfectly as the protagonists in Xenogears starts going after the Vessels after the next mirroring. But this isn't the first time the mirrored events came in a slightly different order.
I am curious if Omega Universitas was in the original scenario. Else, was there originally some other boss here?
|Febronia reaching out to Virgil.||Elly reaching out to mutated people.|
Febronia and Elly/Sophia are mirrored as women who sacrificed their lives so that others could live in their respective story arcs, leaving the men they left behind with grief and hatred towards those who caused it. So it isn't surprising that a mirroring of the two would begin to sync up eventually. These are some of the finest moments in their respective stories, and both scenes managed to elevate, what I already considered to be great stories, into something completely unexpected and beautiful. These scenes alone could almost be enough to treasure these stories above the majority.
Then, while they do not sync, there appears to be some similarities between Kevin revealing the truth and the scene at Golgotha...
In both scenes you have Jin and Citan be distrusting of Kevin and Karellen respectively, even though it turns out they're actually telling the truth. Both also want Shion/Elly to run away, but both women are reluctant. Also, the cinematography in both these places is pretty atmospheric. The only difference is that KOS-MOS got Shion out then, while here Elly does as Karellen planned.
Although we don't know who did it, the game implies that someone was responsible for taking Mizrahi out with an explosion. This is similar to an assassination. Also, a big similarity between Cain and Joachim is that both have begun to question what they've been doing, and they want to save future generations, thus becoming a hindrance to the other antagonists. Since Sellers and the Gazel Ministry were mirrored in their introduction way back, it is fitting that their relationship with Joachim and Cain is mirrored also.
|Wilhelm and Kevin are monitoring the progress.||Karellen and Ministry/Miang are monitoring the progress.|
There isn't much to say about this one I think. Kevin/Wilhelm/Testaments and Karellen/Miang/Gazel Ministry are the puppet masters in their respective story arcs. Any of these scenes are pretty much mirroring. Perhaps a scene with just Karellen and Miang would've been more appropriate, and there are a few of those, but this one synced up nicely here.
The final appearance of Abel's Ark syncs up pretty perfectly with the appearance of Machanon. This is what the antagonists have been waiting for, and planning for, all along. Both are "summoned" - Abel's Ark through the power of both Shion's, and Machanon through the activation of the Goetia Key. If you have difficulty following how Abel's Ark is a reimagining of the Eldridge, then it will be elaborated upon in the story analysis.
Shion is upset.
Shion and KOS-MOS share a moment.
Elly is upset.
Fei and Elly share a moment.
These ones sync up pretty well.
Ahead there's more mirroring, but the elements do not sync and are tossed around like often before. Here is a brief chart:
|Merkabah dungeon.||Machanon dungeon (narrated).|
|Abel's Ark dungeon.||Merkabah dungeon (narrated).|
To make it easier we'll examine the "out of sync mirroring" going with the order of Xenosaga. First up there's the Merkabah dungeons, though the one in Xenogears is only narrated (the first time). This is fairly obvious mirroring since both are the same type of ship - relics of God - which were developed by Dmitri Yuriev and Karellen in relatively short amount of time. I wonder if the end of Sellers and the end of the Gazel Ministry were meant to be mirrored since the two have been mirrored before, but there's really nothing I can think of except the SOL-9000 is shut off rather abruptly while Sellers just floats away and disappears abruptly.
Yuriev and Miang
At the end of the Merkabah dungeon arc, we have this mirroring where an ally (Gaignun and Elly) shots someone (Mary and Fei) with a gun, and then turns into a familiar antagonist - Yuriev and Miang. Of course, we knew since the Second Miltia arc that Yuriev was awakening in Gaignun's body, but Miang awakening in Elly's body was one heck of a twist. Both Yuriev and Miang are also mirrored in that they have manipulated the government in the past and the present, and Yuriev's private forces look very similar to Zeboim's special Military Corps that Miang controlled in that era (comparison pics between those were displayed higher up during the Zeboim ruins part). Both Yuriev and Miang have been responsible for more deaths than can possibly be accounted for. Finally there's the Satan allusion with Yuriev wanting to challenge God and placing numbers on his clones, and Miang having an Omnigear that looks like a snake.
Speaking of which... We already had Omega and Opiomorphus syncing up in Solaris, when Opiomorphus is unveiled. Both are featured prominently in the background of the action during the Merkabah, Durandal, Machanon, Golgotha, and Abel's Ark parts. They become the main boss in the last dungeon for this stretch of events too; Omega at the end of Abel's Ark dungeon, and Opiomorphus at the end of the Merkabah dungeon.
Durandal occupation and Golgotha crucifixion
These two events do not seem all that similar. They sync up, but that's about it. It was earlier that Shion was mirrored with Elly here, going with the offer of Kevin while the others tell her not to take it. Perhaps the slaughter onboard the Durandal can be considered late mirroring with the assassins from Solaris slaughtering people at the Church H.Q., especially since I already noted the similarity between Stein (Stone) and Dmitri Yuriev.
There is a mirroring in Durandal with the later Merkabah dungeon in Xenogears, when our protagonists learn about "God," the relics of God, and the origin of mankind. In Xenosaga it is Dmitri Yuriev who tells this in the Zohar Emulator storage room, and in Xenogears it is Elly awakened as Miang who tells this in front of Deus at the core of Merkabah. Both Yuriev and Miang/Karellen also take their leave and go "inside of God" after this conversation, with Yuriev flying into Abel's Ark (God's observation terminal) and Elly-Miang/Karellen going inside Deus to become one with God.
In Xenogears, two weeks goes by between Golgotha and the Merkabah dungeon, as the protagonists search for Elly and Karellen finishes his construction of the Merkabah. In Xenosaga the Abel's Ark dungeon happens right away after the Durandal part.
Abel's Ark and Machanon (Eldridge)
Not only was Abel's Ark designed to look like The Eldridge in its final form, but the Ark arc itself syncs up and mirrors the Machanon arc rather well, which likely was not a coincidence. However, for the Abel's Ark dungeon here, a lot is mirrored with the Merkabah dungeon in Xenogears. Since the Machanon dungeon was narrated earlier, it's difficult to say if anything was mirrored. But the protagonists traversing the "cradle of humanity" is a similar concept, even though Machanon was technically a space craft, while Abel's Ark is more a literal origin of existence with the primordial soup within it. There was a lot going down in the Machanon dungeon that doesn't appear to be mirrored during this arc, such as battle with Deus' nucleus and O.R. Weltall, or the Raziel Tree scenes. The only thing I can think of that is similar is the visit to Rennes-le-Château much earlier, with the visit to Maria's tomb, the Hebrew inscriptions, and the appearance of/battle with E.S. Naphtali (Virgil) being similar in certain themes to the Raziel Tree and the appearance of Grahf/battle with O.R. Weltall.
Abel's Ark and Merkabah (Deus' dungeon)
We visit Deus' dungeon (Merkabah) two times in Xenogears. Here, and at the end of the game. And the Abel's Ark dungeon is mirrored with Deus' dungeon from both times you visit, so I will cover all of that mirroring here, even though it is out of order. The first mirroring is the spinning orbs containing sub-bosses that you defeat before moving on to the big bad at the core.
The second mirroring is the Anima Vessels resonating with said core. This stops the protagonists in their tracks for a bit, but in Xenogears the Omnigears are gone after this while in Xenosaga you carry right on with the E.S.'s. Also, the Gnosis sub-bosses for Xenosaga here, Natus Flamma, Natus Glacies, Natus Lumen, and Natus Tellus, have been designed in homage to four of the Omnigears in Xenogears: El-Andvari, El-Fenrir, El-Renmazuo, and El-Stier.
The Yuriev confrontation is also mirroring with Grahf's introduction at the beginning of Xenogears, but I already covered that.
Omega Metempsychosis and Opiomorphus
Like I said earlier, Omega and Opiomorphus sync up in their battle at the end of this arc. You also have the battle taking place in front of "God" (U-DO and Deus) with the "eyes" of God observing from the background. The pilot of Omega and Opiomorphus are Yuriev and Miang, who are mirrored for the most part of this arc.
Omega Metempsychosis and Deus
Omega Metempsychosis is also mirrored with Xenogears' final boss Deus, which is probably more easy to recognize, although they do not sync up. Also, while the pilot of Omega and Deus are still Yuriev and Miang, who are mirrored for the most part of this arc, the Deus battle does not take place in front of the "eyes" of a God observing from the background. On the other hand, the "angel hands" of Deus seems to have been turned into mini Weltall and Vierge homages on Omega Metempsychosis. I am really curious if the mini Weltall and Vierge were always in the original plan for Xenosaga or merely a last minute fan service addition because they decided to end the series...?
The Wilhelm/Miang mirroring here is pretty straight-forward. They both spill a lot of info about the past and the true nature of things here.
I can't think of any more mirroring for this part, not counting the "Path of Sephirot," but I'll do a comparison of that at the end of Xenogears. Xenosaga got the resolution of Albedo's character here, who has been mirrored with Id and Grahf a lot. It seems to me that, while a little early and out of sync, the Albedo resolution is meant to mirror the Id resolution. There is, however, no time for an Albedo resolution later, so ending it at this point probably was the plan all along. Since Id has been away from the stage for a while now, it makes sense that Albedo has also been away for a while until now, to mirror this. Also, Albedo, Rubedo and Nigredo mirror Id, Fei and the Coward. Nigredo is called out by Albedo as "hiding in the shadows" which is similar to Id being pissed at the original personality of Fei who had secluded himself in his own room at the depths of Fei's consciousness.
However, something from the original plan must have been altered during this part, since Gaignun showing Jr. his true form was clearly added by Monolithsoft here, when Jr. was supposed to grow into adult and be playable in adult form, to mirror Emeralda. I don't see the Adult Jr./Emeralda mirroring ever syncing up, since Emeralda's story is concluded far too late, so Jr.'s rapid growing could've happened anywhere and as early as the time Albedo became a Testament. Perhaps it was intended to happen here in this scene. But then why would Soraya think Jr.'s adult form had been removed as far back as during Episode II?
Abel's Ark establishes itself over Planet Michtam.
All existence continues to disappear.
Merkabah establishes itself on the surface of the planet.
All out destruction of civilization.
In Xenosaga the interstellar war reaches its climax here, with everything in complete chaos. And in Xenogears the Merkabah sends out the Angel army, which results in complete chaos as well. The next part doesn't have a lot of mirroring though. It could indicate that the original scenario was different, but while it is a significant gap, it isn't a very long gap.
Canaan sacrifices himself for his comrades.
Flashback of 500 years ago. (Episode IV fragments)
Sophia sacrifices herself for her comrades.
There is not much similar here from what I can see. We could, perhaps, explain away this with the 500 year flashback being an addition from another "Episode" in Xenogears, that Takahashi originally wanted to tell some other way, before he ended up putting it into the game. But the problem is, even if we skip the 500 year flashback there's no mirroring between Michtam's surface and the next part of Xenogears either.
Previously, I thought perhaps we'd originally find Ziggy's flashback here (Pied Piper) to mirror "Episode IV", but it's clear now that Pied Piper mirrors the "Protect Nisan" ~ "Gate 1 -Margie" arc earlier. And having Ziggy's backstory here would be too much too late. It'd be anticlimactic to see a bunch of scenes with Yuriev after he's already defeated in the present. It really does seem like there should be something here that at least is a little bit similar.
I've noticed that, if T.C. 4767~4768 (the present) mirrors the present in Xenogears (Episode V), then the Miltian Conflict (14/15 years ago) mirrors "Episode IV" (500 years ago) on a conceptual level (great strife, almost end of the world, central backstory). However, the Miltian Conflict is already mirrored with other scenes as has been examined. Pied Piper (100 years ago) mirrors "Episode III" (4000 years ago) on a conceptual level (longer into the past, modern day type story involving doctors, etc) and the opening (20XX ~ Nephilim's background) mirrors the opening in Xenogears which was "Episode II" and covered with Abel's life on the planet. I guess that leaves Time of the Messiah (6000 years ago) and older Earth history as mirroring with "Episode I" from Xenogears: the "mythic" background. However, that doesn't help us at all with figuring out what the original mirroring here might have been.
Canaan and Sophia's sacrifice
The most poignant scene and event in this flashback is when Sophia sacrifices herself for her comrades. And she tells two of them something before she goes. Is there anything like this during this part? Yeah, actually, there is. Canaan sacrifices himself for his comrades. And he also tells two of them something before he goes. Sophia adressed Karellen and Lacan, while Canaan adresses Ziggy and Jr. I suppose this gives some support to the idea that the Canaan/Ziggy/Voyager story would have always concluded here. The ruins of Michtam also kind of resemble the ruined planet in Xenogears 500 years ago. If Canaan had been playable, then him disappearing from the party would've mirrored Elly disappearing from the party. A mirroring like that seems to be missing, though there isn't much evidence that Canaan was ever playable. He doesn't mirror or sync up with the playable characters from Xenogears (unless he was originally playable instead of Jin, and Jin played a supportive role like Canaan does).
I suppose Karellen losing faith in God is similar to Pellegri and Margulis losing their faith, but that feels like a stretch considering how it is presented. Karellen still has a sense of purpose. Then again, maybe Margulis' "As a warrior..." speech was meant to mirror Karellen's "If God doesn't exist in our world..." speech?
Another thing I want to mention here is the Michtam thing. I had suggested that Ziggy's backstory took place on Miltia 100 years ago and not Michtam. But if that was the case, then they sure covered up their tracks. It makes sense that the final showdown with Voyager always took place in the Cathedral where the Pilgrimage Council was made and where Voyager killed Sharon and Joaquin. And that Cathedral couldn't be a present day location if it was on Miltia originally, since Miltia was destroyed. There are of course a number of things that could have been altered, both in Pied Piper, as well as Episode III, regarding the location of this Cathedral. The Cathedral doesn't mirror anything from Xenogears, and Soraya Saga did say that their version was "so different" from what we got. For one thing, if Doctus mirrored a playable character like Maria, then wouldn't she have been a playable party member here? Cutting down her role may have radically changed or omitted parts of the original script, and it is noticeable that she is absent from this Pied Piper reunion.
So when is the next mirroring? I think Shion's line after Margulis' defeat, "It's calling me. Someone ahead is calling me." sounds like mirroring from when Fei/Id breaks out of the Carbonite prison, and Midori says "He'll wake up soon... It's calling him..." And the light that surounds him is similar to the light coming from Shion's pendant. The Michtam underground part that starts here is mirrored with Bethlehem (Zohar's location) following this scene in Xenogears.
|Shion: "It's calling me. Someone ahead is calling me."||Midori: "He'll wake up soon... It's calling him..."|
From here on, I think things start to get a little bit back on track. At least the remaining T-elos vs KOS-MOS stuff is, and likely always was, mirrored with Grahf vs Xenogears.
Mary Magdalene and Shion/Maiden arc.
A mysterious and seemingly "sacred" place.
Bethlehem / Zohar arc.
A mysterious and seemingly "sacred" place.
The Fei, Id, Coward resolution was already mirrored with the Jr., Albedo, Gaignun resolution earlier, which was an awesome part of Xenosaga, but the momentum here is stronger in Xenogears. While in Xenosaga the bosses just seem to line up in a row and you move from place to place, Xenogears just seems so much more dynamic. I guess Id and Grahf get taken down in a row, but otherwise there's none of that in Xenogears. But somehow it seems inevitable in Xenosaga, since they held off with Ziggy and Jr.'s enemy for longer than Bart and Billy's enemies.
It seems to me that the part with Kevin, after the T-elos resolution, might've had some mirroring with the Fei-Id-Coward story originally. If the original scenario did not begin with a Kevin flashback, then perhaps we would've originally seen that here. That way, Kevin's mother dying to protect her son would have been mirrored with Fei's mother dying to protect her son. That way the whole thing would've synced better too, only with the events flipped (T-elos before Kevin, while Grahf comes after Id).
Kahn and Allen
As it is though, I don't really see much of a mirroring between Id and Kevin. I guess Kahn taking a bunch of hits from Id while trying to reach Fei is similar to Allen taking a bunch of hits from Kevin while trying to reach Shion - with the rest of the party trying to reach them too. And when you fight Id you also fight the main character. When Shion joins Kevin you fight her even though she is the main character as well. That seems like mirroring.
|Flashback sequence of main character's previous life.||Flashback sequence of main character's previous lives.|
These two sequences begin when Nephilim (in Xenosaga) and Id (in Xenogears) brings back the memories of our protagonist's previous life (or in the case of Fei, previous lives). It begins with a white light, and then we see a montage of clips from ancient eras. In the case of Xenosaga we never really see Shion as the Maiden, but much is from her point of view. In Xenogears the camera is often outside the protagonist, but a few scenes towards the end are clearly from Lacan's point of view. You also see similar clips such as a character crying over another one, and people listening to one from below a hill, as you see in the screenshots. And the soundtrack here is a music box theme.
Dialogue with a wave-being
The scenes are a little out of order here, but there's also this mirroring where the hero has a conversation with a "wave existence" from a higher dimension. In Xenogears this conversation happens after the sequence of flashbacks. But in Xenosaga it happens before the flashbacks. Also, this is where Xenogears reveals Fei's first incarnation, Abel. And Xenosaga's Abel revealing himself to be U-DO mirrors that. I think this feels like the original scenario.
T-elos and Grahf
Both T-elos and Grahf are the dark half of a main character, and here they finally attempt to become one with that character. Also, KOS-MOS and Weltall have been mirrored since the beginning, and here they both finally awaken into their final form: Mary and Xenogears. In this rematch with T-elos/O.R. Weltall, they are more powerful, and T-elos/Grahf are defeated. Both T-elos and Grahf "disappear." T-elos' body is merged with KOS-MOS, and while Grahf doesn't merge with Fei, he still says: "I can merge temporarily with Zohar, and thus may be able to buy you some time. This is the only way I can be one with you."
This is out of sync, but it's an obvious mirroring. The humans in Xenogears transformed into Wels earlier, upon the activation of the Goetia Key, and here in Xenosaga humans transform into Gnosis upon Wilhelm using Zarathustra. Both the Wels and Gnosis form of humans also relate to the respective main theme; grief and fear. Wels transformation causes grief and Gnostification is both caused by fear of the Collective as well as causing fear.
|Plot point two||Plot point two|
The final injection of new information into the story, after which no new expository information enters, and which puts a final piece of narrative information in play that gives the hero everything needed to become the primary catalyst in the story's conclusion.
You can sense the ending just around the corner...
The final injection of new information into the story, after which no new expository information enters, and which puts a final piece of narrative information in play that gives the hero everything needed to become the primary catalyst in the story's conclusion.
You can sense the ending just around the corner...
The exact part when this happens is a little blurry. Xenogears seems to have a pretty clear "final exposition" part onboard the Excalibur II, a scene that doesn't appear to be mirrored in Xenosaga. Overall, the end part of Xenogears is longer, with the chance to explore the world map and do sidequests that has story relevance (Emeralda). But Xenosaga doesn't take a break and goes quickly for the climax of the story. I guess it's fair though, since some earlier parts, like Ziggy's backstory, were longer than their Xenogears counterparts. Anyway, Wilhelm seems to be the one making the final exposition bit.
You don't get a good look at the Wave Existence in Xenogears like you do U-DO in Xenosaga. In particular you don't ever really see the "waves." They emanated from Id earlier, like they emanated from Neo Yuriev in Episode III. But here, at least, you see that those purple waves coming from Deus look exactly like the ones in Xenosaga, if you look at the pictures. It's pretty cool when you think about it, because it sort of means that the red background inside Deus' core (when you fight it) are most likely the Wave Existence's "waves," similar to those U-DO waves that appeared at Ariadne and Old Miltia when Shion summoned the Gnosis. Only they couldn't animate that Deus background on the PS1. Obviously, Arai (the director), wouldn't miss something like that since he was responsible for the artistic design in Xenogears.
|Last boss: Zarathustra||Last boss: Deus / Uroborus|
The last battle is kinda different in the two games. But we already had a Deus mirroring back when we fought Omega Metempsychosis. This doesn't mean there was a change in scenario though. One of Mugitani's Xeno Emission art books confirmed that Zarathustra was meant to be the final boss of this arc as far back as Episode I. In fact, the battle with Zarathustra does have a strong symbolic similarity to the battle with Uroborus. In both instances the concept of eternity is to be contested by the proponent of permitting humanity to walk its own path and seize its own destiny. The Uroborus/Ouroboros is the alchemical symbol of eternal recurrence, and Zarathustra is referred to in-game as "the eternal circle."
|Act IV - resolution||Act IV - resolution|
Hero transitions from an attacking warrior to a selfless, heroic and even martyr-like champion in terms of solving the inherent dramatic problem the story is portraying.
(Shion endures Wilhelm's "torture.")
What appears in the final act has been foreshadowed, referenced or are already in play. Example: Elsa's overboost.
Hero transitions from an attacking warrior to a selfless, heroic and even martyr-like champion in terms of solving the inherent dramatic problem the story is portraying.
(Fei goes after Elly at the risk of his own life.)
What appears in the final act has been foreshadowed, referenced or are already in play. Example: Urobolus (referenced as the "true Miang" earlier in the game).
While the order of events for Xenosaga is going to be out of order here, we've got this mirroring where the protagonist goes into an unknown space. In Xenogears it's the higher dimension (or 'Path of Sephirot, the borderline between this universe and the higher dimension), and in Xenosaga it's a column jump into the Sunken Region where Lost Jerusalem exists somewhere. Both the Elsa and the Xenogears that flies in there have glowing "wings."
To me, it seems they were trying to recreate or reimagine the whole 'Path of Sephirot" thing in Xenosaga with the Ark and its center. Taken on their own, the various elements might not appear to be identical. But taken together, it's all too similar that it cannot be coincidence. For one thing, both the Path of Sephirot and Abel's Ark have a similar theme music. And both are places of "water." Then you have the blue rock-like surface floating in space at the center. And above this is the light from the entrance to the upper domain. In Xenosaga it looks a little different, less defined, and with strange additional structures from U-DO/the Ark. But the fact that the protagonists "teleport" to this place, in space, with the light above, heavily suggest to me that this is meant to be the same thing.
|Kevin: "Hang in there. The world...is waiting for you."||Karellen: "This is your home planet that you are now standing on."|
At the end, Karellen is mirrored with both Kevin and Wilhelm. Karellen and Kevin both tell the protagonist to go back out into the world and live it.
Karellen and Wilhelm are the two main antagonists that you never physically fight. In their scenes they also use the old name for a protagonist. Karellen refers to Fei as "Lacan," and Wilhelm refers to chaos as "Yeshua." Both are pessimists while Fei/chaos are optimists.
Shion/Allen and Fei/Elly
You've got the happy ending for the hero in both stories, though who knows how long that would last when both games were intended to have sequels. Shion contemplates Wilhelm's reasons, just like Fei and Elly contemplated Karellen's reasons right after the Uroborus battle. The actual ending in Xenosaga might be a little longer. We see a lot more of side characters than we did in Xenogears.
|KOS-MOS is in the last shot before the credits.||Weltall (Xenogears) is in the last shot before the credits.|
...And we've finally reached the end. Both KOS-MOS and Weltall have been mirrored throughout the stories, so it is only fitting that both appear in the last shot before the credits.
|Last shot: KOS-MOS and Lost Jerusalem.||Last shot: Kadmoni and the land of genesis.|
After the credits are over, the last shot in both works show a pan of humanity's origin: Lost Jerusalem and Fei's planet's Land of genesis (the place where Kadmoni landed). We saw both in the opening movies. In Xenosaga KOS-MOS floats down towards the planet, while in Xenogears a glowing feather floats down towards the valley (probably from the wings of Weltall/Xenogears).