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Star Ocean EX, Vol. 1: The Inception (2001) – DVD Review

Star Ocean EX Vol. 1: Inception DVD


Based upon the game by tri-Ace, Inc. and Square Enix
Directed by Hiroshi Watanabe
Music by Osamu Sakuraba


  • Clean opening
  • Original Japanese opening
  • Character profiles

Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:

  • Cat fights and jealousy
  • Attack bats and bugs
  • Endangered bosoms and glowing thighs
  • Cold and distant fathers
  • Lying wenches
  • Possessed suitors
  • Entomophobia

Released by: Geneon
Region: 1
Rating: 13+
Anamorphic: N/A; episodes appear in their original 1.33:1 format.

My Advice: Enjoy the adventure!

[ad#longpost]Claude, son of the famous Commodore Kenni, captain of Battleship Colnus, is traveling for the first time as a crew member under his father, and the pressure of being the son of a famous man with all that man expects weighs heavily on him. They are investigating a strange energy source on a distant planet, around which there have been many accidents. A mysterious asteroid field suddenly appears. The crew discovers a strange object in a large explosion crater that transports Claude to parts unknown.

Meanwhile, in a civilization plagued with disasters, a young girl seems to be awaiting the arrival of a prophesized warrior of some kind to defeat the power of the Sorcery Globe, an asteroid that landed and began causing natural disasters and terrible animal mutations. Claude, of course, does not think he is the Legendary Warrior and only wants to return home, but he sets out to find the globe, gathering information and allies as he goes.

It’s always dangerous to convert a game into anime, just as comics rarely make the transition to movies successfully. This is actually one of the rare examples of the transition working; Star Ocean EX is entertaining whether or not you have played the game. In fact, if you’ve played the game, you might be trapped into making needless comparisons or have unfounded, frustrating expectations. If you assume that game-anime will be disappointing, then you might be pleasantly surprised. This series may not be the most brilliant, but it does hold its own and provide a good afternoon’s entertainment.

Some of the most interesting moments occur in character development, such as when Dias tests Claude’s ability to protect Rena and finds him wanting. Claude’s resulting crisis of confidence is quite interesting. The good-natured rivalry of Celine and Rena over Claude is also the source of some nice situations, as are the times when Celine has to get serious and spout her incantations.

The graphics look great, with bright, clear colors, interesting character designs, and excellent incorporation of computer-created graphics. There are a few instances of the hated gratuitous lens flare, something that should only happen with an actual camera and not your eye as you view a given scene, but c’est la vie. Some of the best moments are with Celine and her casting. The sound is also well done, including the voice acting in both languages. It is nice to see English voice actors learning how to handle anime’s unique and wonderful plots and emotional demands, even if the quality is at times a little bit uneven. It still offers a choice for those who want to fully experience the show’s art.

The special features are standard, but well-done. We get a selection of character profiles, the original Japanese opening, and a clean opening. A comparison between the game and the anime, or the anime and the manga would have been nice. But on the up side, we do get five full episodes on each disc.

If you’re a fan of the game, then you’ll love this anime version–just don’t expect them to be identical, as the anime is its own thing. If you like good adventure shonen, coming of age sagas, or magical/science fiction adventures, then you’ll appreciate this show. You get bad guys, good guys, mysterious magic, laser pistols, swords, prophecies, cute bunnies, dark magic, healers, solid allies, unique powers, strange amulets, young love, disasters by the dozens, and death. What more could you want?

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