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"Star Ocean EX": Dude, She’s Friggin 10!

by on July 29, 2005

RPGs are an interesting bunch, that they are. Often-times, your rag-tag party of four must go up against an entire army and win. But there’s been a lot of RPGs lately, and I think we need something more than the usual “We few must stop the evil empire from ruling the world!” So what else could you put into a game that will make people pay attention? Why, another cute girl, of course!

Cover art for Star Ocean EX Volume 3: Magical Moonlit Flowers.Previously on Star Ocean EX, our heroes had finally managed to get a boat to El Continent. Well, actually, it’s a boat to a nearby town that actually has said boat to El Continent. Our heroes stop by the nearby Lacour Kingdom, where they hope to find a translation of an old book they found way back in Volume 1. However, our heroes get delayed when Ashton meets Precis Newman, a young girl who claims to be a genius inventor (think a twelve-year-old Washu from Tenchi Muyo!), and Ashton, despite being much older, ends up falling in love with her. Unfortunately, Precis seems to have fallen in love with Claude, much to both men’s dismay.

But all that is put on hold as Precis’ friend Elenor is getting sicker and sicker, and our heroes have to find a rare plant in order to save the day. Later, after Precis tries to snare Claude away from Rena, everyone (including Precis) heads to Lacour, where Dr. Leon might be able to translate the old book. But to see him, they’ll have to win a swordfighting tournament. But wait, who’s that competing against Claude? It can’t be!? It’s–

Okay, just watch the DVD to find out

As if you couldn’t figure it out, this volume is dedicated to the young newcomer Precis. This adds a bit of a refresher to the story and makes it more interesting, though I’m just a wee bit creeped out by Ashton’s love of Precis and the fact that nobody seems to mind. Aside from that, Precis herself is a pretty fun character, though her dramatic scenes tend to go overboard, and every attempt at drama in the first two episodes come off as extremely cheesy. There’s one scene, for instance, where the mother tries to get an apple for Elenor, but most viewers will shrug off her appeals. Thankfully, the drama near the end is a bit better, with Claude hesistant about fighting humans instead of monsters, even though he doesn’t have to kill. Of course, we can’t have any drama without some cheese, and the local swordsmith’s speech about how well Claude’s sword was made gets pretty grating really, really quickly. Thankfully, most of the disc is comic, and while it’s not done as well as other series, it’s still better than the drama.

Animation is decent at best. While I don’t usually mind it when action scenes are just stills being manipulated, here it gets annoying, as all the action scenes consist of manipulated still shots.It’s a real shame too, because whenever the crew actually does animate something, it’s done rather well. While the animation might not be very good, the coloring is. The bright colors when combined with the various manipulations makes for a pretty product. Transfer is pretty good, as usual, so there’s nothing to worry about in that front.

Music is pretty much the same as on the last disc. The opening and ending themes are servicable, while the background music fits the scenes without doing much more. Ocean Group delivers another decent performance for the English dub, while the Japanese track is pretty decent as well. Unfortunately, Geneon still forgot about the song and sign subtitle track, which sucks. If you liked the audio in previous volumes, you won’t be disappointed this time around.

Extras? This is a Geneon DVD, silly! Here you get more really crappy character profiles, trailers to three other Geneon series, and a double-sided pencil board, one side featuring Precis mimicking Celine, and the other featuring Precis and Ashton.

Aside from the creepy Ashton/Precis love angle, this is a pretty good volume. It won’t knock your socks off, but it’s a good, fun watch. Plus, it’s pretty tame, so you could likely watch it with the young’uns if you want.

Episodes included on this volume:
Episode #11: The Invention Girl
Episode #12: Metox
Episode #13: Rampage
Episode #14: Lacour

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