Xenosaga Episode II Part 04: MOMO’s Big Day

Previously on Xenosaga: Shion reunited with her family. She’s ready to go back to space now.

So we’ve got just chaos for the moment, and it’s his arduous task to walk five feet over to the UMN Control Center.

Welcome to the UMN Control Center! This is where the Internet lives!

Hey guys… doesn’t the Kukai Foundation have something better to do with its time? Who’s running the place? Captain Matthews?

MOMO grabbed her finest beret for this mission. I hope Helmer didn’t wear the same thing.

And guess who just showed up.

And she’s just as distant as ever. At least Dr. Mrs. Mizrahi is thanking the gang for saving the universe.

Ziggy is a fuggin’ champ. Sidenote: I didn’t use MOMO on the Proto Merkabah once.

Raise Small Wonder’s expectations…

And just smash ‘em on down.

Junior will remember that.

Somebody finally got the hint. Literally everyone in this room cares for MOMO more than her “mother”.

MOMO is now joy-shy, but Ziggy provides a reassuring gesture with his jackknife hand.

“Yes, MOMO, this is really happening.”

Anyway, time to scoop out your brain. This way now.

Oh, chaos, you eternally late immortal. You can explore what there is of the UMN building (or at least this floor) now, but it’s mostly boring NPCs milling about.

Prob-ab-lee, Blazena!

Hit the right random doorway, and the plot continues.

“You’re a horrible person, why would you ever be nice to your robo-daughter?”

So she was just hitting the “be happy” button on "that Realian". … I’ve seen worse parenting.

I’m trying to think, but I want to say that this is the first indicator in the series that Junior (and Gaignun) has an established relationship with Juli Mizrahi. They all interacted in the previous episode, but there didn’t seem to be any familiarity during those encounters.

Yeah, she’s “pretending”.

“You know? My ex-husband? Guy that doomed the universe?”

Is this Junior being nice, or a retcon? If you recall, Junior was very vocal about hating Joachim’s guts last game. He also watched the dude rant, rave, and then dive off a building. I think Junior has a pretty firm idea of “what kind of person he was”.

Theeeeere it is.

Alright folks, it’s time for a round of “Retcon or not”.

This portion of the game will tell that tale of Sakura, the human daughter of Dr. Mizrahi, who incidentally was the basis for MOMO. This was, albeit obliquely, mentioned during a flashback involving Dr. Mizrahi back on The Song of Nephilim. “Sakura” was a firmly established bit of Xenosaga lore from Episode 1.

However, Junior’s relationship with Sakura may be an invention of Episode 2. Junior was generally nice to MOMO… except when they first met, and Junior claimed Mizrahi was a complete maniac until MOMO literally sulked off to cry. These are not the actions of someone who was a “friend of the family” and made a heartfelt promise to a deceased relative.

Additionally, Gaignun treated MOMO like a stranger during their interaction (he basically came off as a friendly politician), and Albedo, who would have absolutely no reason to spare MOMO’s feelings, didn’t drag their preexisting, ha-ha-your-sister-is-dead relationship into his fun little speeches.

(And remember that The Animation, released after Episode 2, swung in the complete opposite direction.)

I really want to say this whole thing was an invention of Episode 2 to condense MOMO and Junior’s backstories into one solid piece, and, frankly, I don’t blame ‘em for that choice. Ziggy’s entire story wound up shunted into an entirely different game when it couldn’t be organically merged with this plot, it would have been a shame to see that happen twice.

We’ll keep an eye on it for the next few updates, but I want to say this Sakura/Junior/URTV/Mizrahi relationship is a retcon, plain and simple. But if anyone wants to no-prize this whole thing, please, have at it.

Anyway, yes, Junior is over Realian racism thanks to Sakura.

“I’m finally getting around to that!”

Thank you, Pinkamena Pie.

“Is plot happening without me? What’d I miss?”

Juli heads out, chaos offers nothing.

“Has she ever been all right?”

“And I ain’t talkin’ about Nintendo Power.”

“Oh yeah, didn’t we spend most of last week trying to kill your brother?”

Junior joins the party! Let’s go grab some more.

Here’s a closet. I bet Ziggy is in there.

Oh, he’s got a friend.

He’s surprised to have a friend.

Aw, turns out MOMO wanted Real Mom to work on Robo Dad. That’s adorable, and likely harkens back to last game when Ziggy said he wasn’t comfortable being worked on by anyone but MOMO.

Except MOMO doesn’t know that the last time Ziggy and Juli hung out, all she did was go on about how her ex was a maniac. She’s lapsing back into old habits now.

Oh, you picked up on that, did you?

So…. Maybe?

Yeah, I could see how that would be kind of a downer.

Juli asks Ziggy about his family situation. I’m going to guess that since she’s already had Ziggy’s dossier, she knows the answers here.

Subtle, Juli. Subtle.

Sad Ziggy.

If this scene gets any more dour, a Cure concert is gonna break out.

“You seem to strongly dislike your daughter.”

This is why no one likes psychologists in the future. Random Cyborgs are so much better at dispensing heady emotional advice.

Challenge Level 1: Love your daughter. Ready? FIGHT!

“I guuuuuuuuess I could try that.”

“Nobody ever gives me a drill arm…”

Ziggy sense tingling.

Ah ha ha Junior and chaos were listening the entire time. Not like there’s anything better to do around this building.

Yes, finally, we’ve been waiting an entire game for this.

YES!

“Try not to think about how the fate of the universe rests in your lil’ head.”

It’s been a long time (since Junior’s introduction), but recall that Mary and Shelley are computer geniuses, so they’re taking point on this procedure. Mary is actually with MOMO, and Shelley is back in the booth with a pair of support Realians.

Robo Dad is here for you.

“And when this is all over, you get your choice of Blow Pop.”

Wait, what?

Wow, that’s gotta be… woof. Guess her optimism was just a setting.

MOMO now installing 1,547 recommended updates. Please do not turn off your MOMO until the update is complete.

I think every relevant person on the planet showed up for this thing.

Of course Albedo didn’t clean up after himself when he mind-raped the poor gal.

And Mary isn’t super stoked about following in his footsteps, even if it is consensual.

Tiny bit of backstory for the sisters: turns out they were human test subjects back on Old Miltia. Man, nobody had a fun time on that planet.

And Junior wants to wax philosophical about what it means to turn off MOMO’s emotions. Now dance for my amusement, LP subject.

Junior wanders off thanks to his general fear of… data retrieval? Okay, after last episode, I kind of understand.

Despite the fact that MOMO is in sleep mode, everyone continues to treat her like a complete person. How nice.

Huh? She shouldn’t be speaking…

And all the support Realians pass out. This is not a good sign.

That’s… bad… I guess?

“No wonder we didn’t find anything; we were analyzing each system separately. Each layer is a low-resolution fragment, like scattered bits of memories. It’s only when they all become active at once that the whole image comes together. Joachim’s pulled off a grand trompe l’oeil.”

“In English, Doctor?” “It’s like Voltron.” “Oh.”

See, you can’t turn off MOMO’s emotions. Or she’s got auxiliary, backup emotions. I…wouldn’t be surprised.

Three guesses on who set that one.

Yep. Albedo’s handiwork continues to haunt the party.

But Dr. Mrs. Mizrahi isn’t taking this sitting down! Or… she’s going to sit down… but actively!

So Juli decides she’s going to DELETE MOMO. What the hell!?

Hey, Y-Data is important, if the bad guys get it, then yada yada yada.

But she hesitates…

Presumably due to maternal love or because holy crap you are not going to kill a preteen girl the moment she becomes inconvenient.

Well, where is it going then, smart guy?

“I’d remember killing my robo daughter!”

Oh snap, MOMO is deleting herself!

What a little trooper. Her dad committed suicide, her robo dad committed suicide, and her mother seriously considered it. Kids grow up so fast.

Incoming transmission from Asshole Central.

Albedo didn’t have to take over every monitor in the room, he just thought it would be neat.

Juli has dashed out to somehow aid pretty-much-dead MOMO. Albedo is going to take this time to gloat. He might not have gotten the Y-Data due to MOMO’s sacrifice, but at least he can taunt his old friends.

And maybe have a good laugh.

In the span of one update, we’ve gone from “I can barely tolerate her,” to “LIVE DAMN YOU!” This is the kind of development you get when you’re not a main character.

Ziggy is… concerned.

And flashbacking to losing his own child. That seems to happen once a game.

No you won’t. We need to call in the big guns. We need to call…

Shion and Allen: Action Scientists!

MOMO did live, she’s just kinda… broken.

“Shion we called you… to ask you to talk to some people who know what to do here. You know anybody in Third Division? Ask them for us, would you?”

Oooooh classy.

Allen Ridgeley, you complete idiot.

Shion is, obviously, going to do this herself, protocol be damned. Did you expect anything else?

This is the first you get to wander around Vector’s Miltia branch (even though Shion was technically here at the start of the last update). Turns out scientist NPCs are just as catty as regular NPCs.

I love this. Remember how Vector at large thought Allen died on the Woglinde? Well, they still think that, even though he’s in the next room over. Also, this is a sly reference to Pink Bug’s picture that included an Allen ghost last game. It’s a deep cut in the Xenosaga trivia, but it’s great for anyone paying attention (to how the universe hates Allen).

Speaking of which, Allen decides that if Shion is going to go do something stupid, he’s going to go do something stupid, too. He’s a doormat, but he’s a consistent doormat.

But first we’ve got to check in with Universal Politics.

Looks like The Patriarch is going to explain why his whacko space religion has apparently mobilized its space fleet. Universal Crusades?

Whoops, we almost went a whole update without mentioning the Zohar, so Patriarch is going to remind us it’s locked away on Old Miltia. Note that Patriarch is playing ball and operating in kindly pope mode here.

And he’s staking his claim on the Zohar by some sort of religious right. Good luck with that, buddy.

And the Federation’s response is basically “lol, no.”

But Padre is gonna turn this around and at least use the opportunity to point the finger at the Kukai Foundation/Second Miltia.

And he’s blaming Albedo’s actions from the last game on Kukai while he’s at it. Recall that, technically, Albedo is his employee.

“They’re all out to get us! Preemptive strike!”

“We’ll just take this item of unimaginable power off your hands. It’s cool.”

“Dude, we’re not idiots.”

Though at least one of the committee doofuses is not buying the fact that KOS-MOS’s data got Kukai out of jail (literally). Could it all be a ruse? (No.)

Seriously? Dude has to defend his planet from accusations every meeting? Can’t he take some time off to read a book?

Yeah, maybe he can swing buy a bookstore or something.

Just when you think you’re out, Jin.

Helmer is baiting Jin with the one thing he desires: absolute knowledge. Wait, that might be many things…

Jin claims that the 15 year old Canaan data won’t hold up in court, but Helmer just wants answers (dammit!).

“You’re an Uzuki. You don’t even know how to resist meddling and you know it.”

“Look at the data. Looooove the data. Find moooore data…”

Jin points out that he’ll have to return to Old Miltia, which is currently impossible. Helmer indicates that that is getting less impossible by the hour.

“Nope! I’m not sure anyone in Third Division even has a name.”

“This story doesn’t need any more extras.”

Allen, you already agreed to be helpful, don’t walk it back now.

chaos is Allen cheerleader numero uno. Enjoy the support of a demigod, Allen!

“Remember the last time you did this? And we all had to relive our worst memories?… Get the hell out!

Alright, MOMO is out of commission for obvious reasons, but the rest of the party now has one last chance to go and revisit old areas or clear some sidequests. Once you tell Allen you’re ready to go, it will be a looooong time before you can revisit any of Xenosaga’s side content. Just a lil’ warning.

It’s cute how Allen can’t even say Shion’s name.

Yay! Bonus KOS-MOS!

Shion is elated that she’s getting her robot back.

“Head’s up: this is going to be a flashback.”

Ziggy, the only one that ever has any kind of foresight or concern about impending missions, questions the only guy around about what MOMO’s memories might actually entail.

Junior knew Sakura because Sakura had a UMN related disease. Junior and his URTV buddies were enlisted because they’re kinda anti-UMN, since they’re anti-U-DO.

Thank you, Ziggy.

Oh, U-DO is just the UMN’s OS? That seems pretty straightforward.

Oh. That’s more complicated.

Right, Shion sorta saw U-DO firsthand when Old Miltia crashed into a pair of blackholes, and she sorta got this primer last update. U-DO is more complicated than just an OS.

So, U-DO information roundup:

  1. U-DO is an amazingly advanced higher consciousness beyond human understanding. Just to make life easier, we’ll call this consciousness “God”.
  2. Humankind shackled U-DO to power the UMN.
  3. The UMN is, basically, the Space Internet.
  4. U-DO had some issues fifteen years ago, and now Old Miltia is blackholed, and the gnosis have been released to destroy the galaxy.

So the central conceit of Xenosaga is that someone decided to chain up God and force it to be the Internet? Yes, I believe I understand why God is wiping out humanity.

First naming of Junior’s father/creator. We’ll see him next update, don’t worry.

But now it’s time to flashback to that damn reactor or whatever from fifteen years back.

Head Boy Rubedo and his URTV buddies are going to take out U-DO!

Albedo… is reluctant.

Uh-huh.

But Rubedo has a sudden mental flash of the planet exploding (or… something?).

Are you sure you want to quit?

Rubedo is suddenly convinced that, if the URTVs continue, the planet will explode. And Yuriev apparently saw it coming.

Except this decision is going to have some collateral damage.

Rubedo breaks the mental link, and all the URTVs quickly succumb to U-DO. This was described a couple of times during XS1, but this is the first we’ve seen it live.

Aw, baby Albedo’s first freak-out. Well, first U-DO freak-out.

“But I guess we had to try, because otherwise it would be a royal pain to download porn across galaxies.”

“Seriously, guys. Any. Time. Now.”

Ah ha ha this is going to be the worst part of the game.

Shion, for the second time in succession (and maybe ever), compliments Allen.

“This… this is what happiness feels like.”

“Jack in! KOS-MOS.EXE, execute!”

Alright, recall that this situation is very much like when the party dove into KOS-MOS’s mainframe during Episode 1. Just for the hell of it, I went back and reviewed that scene, and it’s a great way to show the difference in direction between XS1 and XS2. In XS1, the similar scene plays out with the party standing around, and the screen sorta warps, and then it’s virtual time. Here, there’s this whole rising music and rotating camera thing going on, and it all crescendos to familiar virtual time.

It’s an obvious reminder that XS2’s direction is much more active and dramatic.

And we are… well, this looks nice.

“We’ve gotta find MOMO!”

“Welp, that was easy. Who wants to hit Moby Dick’s?”

“Did someone set her to mute before we dove in?”

Nope, turns out that she’s just a shell of a MOMO. This… has happened before.

Yep, for the second time in the series, “MOMO” will join the party, but she’s just a shell of the “real” MOMO. She’s useful for combat, but she’s not going to do anything else.

Gee, what’s the rush, Ziggy? It’s like you’re concerned about something.

Yeah, a lot longer, because I’m going to call it here. Come back next time for more bumping around MOMO’s subconscious. I bet we’re gonna find out all sorts of information about MOMO and Sakura!

Next time on Xenosaga: All about the boy.

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