Xenosaga Episode III Part 21: Jesus, Mary, and Gnosis

Some years ago, I dated a woman that was a marathon runner. It didn’t matter if it was August or January, if there was a local (or even remotely local) marathon happening, she was in it. And these weren’t short little "fun runs", these were marathons that were grueling gauntlets that usually lasted all day. I believe the story was that she got started in track in high school, and then never gave it up. When she wasn’t actually in a marathon, she trained constantly "to relax", and would often come home… broken. It became a point of contention in our relationship, because I was seriously concerned that she was doing lifelong damage to her body. We were both in our 20s, but some intense training sessions would see her practically immobile for the next day. I was concerned, but she kept writing it off as "just part of the hobby". At one point when she was practically incapacitated from a particularly difficult run, I asked her why she kept doing this to herself. Her response, everything about it, is still burned into my mind:

"Sometimes you feel like you’re going to die, like you’re just going to collapse right there. Sometimes it’s like your entire body is going to give out, and that’s it, you’ll never get up again. But then you see that finish line, and you might not be first, you might even be last, but when you see that finish line, nothing else matters, and it all feels completely worth it. I’ve never felt anything else like that, and I wouldn’t give it up for anything."

Anyway, don’t know why I decided to mention that. Probably just wanted to brag about that time I dated a girl that liked going outside.

Previously on Xenosaga: Margulis is dead. Hey, didn’t he kidnap MOMO at some point? Huh, you might think she would have reacted to his death… Or Albedo’s… Or… Never mind. Let’s just move on.

Okay, so we’re following Shion’s pendant, which basically lit up in one general direction like a half hour ago. I think we’re just following the only way forward and hoping for the best.

So you know, this update is rated B for Bonkers for broad religious themes, breasts, violence, and breasts that cause violence. You’ve been warned.

Let us begin: The Brews have arrived at an ornate dead end.

And the route is closed due to headaches.

Allen is concerned over Shion’s brain problems, everyone else is just a little upset at having followed a piece of jewelry to nowhere.

Like way back at the Floating Continent, Ziggy discovers those Gideon freaks carved another Bible into the place.

Ziggy! You’re standing on Matthew 28:5! That’s probably not good!

chaos glances over at KOS-MOS for no particular reason.

We’ll come back to this later, but I take this to mean that this entire room is made out of the same material. Right? Doesn’t that means Shion’s pendant is just a chunk of this room, and not something that is wholly unique in the universe? Remember that for later.

Junior just likes to hear himself talk.

“By my calculations, we have at least one cyborg on the team that has proven effective at punching through walls in the past. Permission to piss him off?”

But maybe a headache will help!

“If you’re gonna puke, could you do it on Allen?”

Gotta get that girl a helmet…

Right, when Shion passes out, she talks to U-DO. Hello again, U-DO.

But U-DO has apparently gotten tired of being a weird, magenta swirliness.

So, uh, U-DO is Abel apparently.

This isn’t a “just decided to appear as a form you’d recognize” situation, U-DO has been hanging out with the Federation piloting giant robots for a while. Hey, if I was God, I’d probably chill with unstoppable mechs, too.

U-DO is apparently one of those curious gods that doesn’t quite get humanity. This is pretty consistent with our previous Shion/U-DO conversations.

Or maybe U-DO knows what’s going on, and wants to inflict therapy on poor, lost Shion. U-DO works in mysterious ways.

“Where ever the hell ‘here’ is.”

“That song”? Well, okay, I’ll try. My bologna has a first name, it’s O-S-C-A-R…

So, in the same way that U-DO feels alone because he’s freaking God, Shion believes she’s alone, and the only person that ever understood in the whole of the universe was/is Kevin. That’s not going to end well…

And back to reality.

Shion gets up, and it’s time for a visit from our favorite cryptic ghost.

“We already knew that! Do you have a portable door we could use?”

… Are we going to have to talk to a nun?

“Is it conveniently someone already in our party of seven people?”

“Nope, can’t think of any women I’m close to. KOS-MOS, can you think of someone?”

“Maybe you could say ‘good morning’ to her? Hint hint.”

So not only is Shion incredibly dense, but thanks to the whole U-DO conversation a minute ago, she’s convinced she’s completely alone, and nobody understands her. She’s like ten seconds away from opening a Hot Topic franchise right here in the center of the planet.

“Shion, there is a stick so far up your ass, I can see it behind your uvula.”

Why didn’t they save you? Seriously? Do you remember when you were kidnapped (because you were an idiot), and the entire party came to rescue you? That was, like, yesterday.

“Shion, I’m the ghost of a twelve year old, and I think you’re being immature.”

“Fine! I’ll save the world! But not cuz you said so! Nya!”

“Get out of the way, stupid” might be the best bit of physical comedy in this game.

Allen comes so close to admitting his feelings.

But walks it back immediately.

Okay, if Shion seems more petulant than usual, it’s because she’s deep in a bout of self-loathing on account of accidently destroying the universe. She hasn’t really had a moment to rest since that information came to light, and it turns out that murdering an entire religious sect isn’t as therapeutic as you might expect.

Allen is convinced there’s a way to make this all better.

But Shion is a little more pessimistic about Allen’s skills. Legitimately, this party has defeated two different doomsday weapons through sheer pluck at this point, so I’m with the wiener on this one.

I like to imagine that Junior is just off camera, wiggling his hands and saying “Draaaaaaama bomb,” to chaos.

Allen knows the competition…

So Shion is like, “Yeah, sure, let’s open this door. Might get me away from these losers.”

Aaaaaand…

Looks vaguely familiar…

Hey, it’s the crypt area from the Floating Landmass, aka Rennes-le-Château.

Looks a little better than the last time we saw it.

Yeah, this is more like the past… Oh, bother, we’re time traveling again.

Welcome to Earth, Shion.

So you’ve actually got control in this area, and if you want to skip about and see this happy grove in better times, feel free to look around.

But the only real way forward is a familiar path in the rear of the area.

Down some stairs, and… this place looks familiar.

It’s the same Anima Relic crypt from before, but now it’s literally “from before”.

Hi, distinctive cross that has been appearing since XS1.

Hi, chaos in robes.

Shion, you never have, and I don’t know why you thought that might change now.

chaos gives the usual crypt keeper rigmarole about “I know why you’ve come” and all that riot.

“Is ‘her’ a box? Boxgirl?”

I bet it’s Orgulla.

Shion, brilliant scientist, is surprised to find that a coffin has a lid.

And inside the coffin is… uh… this woman?

I’m, like, robot racist. I don’t recognize KOS-MOS without the blue hair or random metal bits.

“And a lot of the cast because that’s how anime faces work.”

“Kevin probably went back in time at some point and saw her. That makes as much sense as anything else in my life.”

Shion… really likes her robot.

Did you think that whole “awaken her” bit would be anything but completely literal?

Flash… back? Something?

Dude with a beard giving some sort of sermon on a mount of some kind.

Oh my, it is, isn’t it?

Been a while since I did a character introduction. Welp, once more unto the breach…

Jesus Christ is a character not just created for Xenosaga, he’s actually a historical figure! … Well, depending on whom you ask. We’re pretty sure he was an actual guy, but even if he’s just a random construct put together by a dozen or so dudes, he’s still ultimately responsible for a lot of real-world things, such as, but not limited to: Christianity, The Crusades, The Spanish Inquisition, Fox News, and Superman Returns.

According to the Christian Faith (which Xenosaga seemingly follows), Jesus Christ was/is the Son of God, and came to Earth to spread a message of mercy and compassion. This probably wouldn’t have been necessary if God hadn’t spent the last few years turning people to salt or banishing young couples for eating fruit, but, hey, mistakes were made. Jesus spent a good thirty years or so imparting a message of hope and tolerance, and then the local government crucified him in a move that seems a lot more believable after living through 2016. Thanks a lot, Jesus.

Jesus had a variety of God-given abilities. He could revive the dead, dramatically stretch the food & wine budget, and once body slammed Andre the Giant. His greatest accomplishment came at his death, when, after praying to Dad to please not let this happen, he was killed, but came back three days later, fresh as a daisy. To this day, the Western World celebrates this event by bitching about not getting more days off for a holiday that occurs on a Sunday. Surely, Jesus Christ was the King of Kings.

Jesus is probably best known today for his recurring guest spot on The Walking Dead.

Oh, and I guess chaos and Kinda KOS-MOS are both enjoying Jesus’s speech.

And the scene changes to… A static image of Kinda KOS-MOS being upset that someone is leaving? Hm.

Shion feels a kinship with Kinda KOS-MOS.

The scene changes to a happier place with a sadder robot.


“Let’s be besties!”

See, Shion just needed someone to be in worse shape than her. Kinda KOS-MOS died like six thousand years ago, so that’s worse than accidentally destroying the universe… right?

Hugs!


Deliberately echoing the ending of XS1 and Shion’s completely unreciprocated hug from that scene. All Shion ever wanted was a caring robot.

Kinda KOS-MOS speaks for the first time.

And… back to reality, again.

“Hey, KOS-MOS, good to see those baby blues again. Wait a minute…”

Yes, that whole little headache freakout fantasy actually “happened” or… something? And it officially awakened KOS-MOS’s blue-eyed personality. Let’s call her…

Mary? Okay, that works, T-elos.

Wait a tick… Wait just a… Okay? Okay. So KOS-MOS, super battle android from the future? She is technically an android with the soul of Mary Magdalene? Mary Magdalene, the closest Jesus Christ had to a girlfriend? This whole time, the emotional side of KOS-MOS was a 6,000 year old Biblical figure?

Oh… kay.

I’m gonna say she’s… not going to do that? Right?

So, naturally, a fight scene breaks out. It’s really the only way these two know how to interact.

Rather than just stand around and watch like last time, the rest of the party actually attempts to participate… for all the good it does them.

Even Shion gets into the act.

But T-elos is able to hold the Uzuki siblings at bay with only her knee.

“I want to know who you are! How are both you, and KOS-MOS connected to that woman?”

Here it is in plain English so there’s no debating. Kinda KOS-MOS is Mary Magdalene, who Xenosaga is claiming is straight up Jesus’s paramour.

T-elos is less of an android and more of a cyborg built from the amazingly well-preserved corpse of Mary Magdalene, which Kevin retrieved from the crypt during that cinema scene at the start of XS3.

And the soul (“will”) of Mary Magdalene rests within KOS-MOS. You can tell Mary is in control when KOS-MOS has blue eyes.

Yes! This is happening!

The soul of Mary Magdalene is capable of some pretty sweet jumpkicks.

T-elos asserts that, as the body, she is the real Mary Magdalene.

(… Ya know, I knew I’d have to type that sentence when I started this LP, but that doesn’t make it any easier.)

So T-elos wants to rip the Mary Soul right out of KOS-MOS. She said as much during their first encounter, but in a slightly more cryptic manner.

Shion’s response is a very understandable, “What? Why?”

“That’s why I asked!”

Shion is the Maiden of Mary Magdalene! Yes! Of course! Is there anyone that guessed that? “Shion is the most special girl in the universe because she’s the Maiden of Mary Magdalene”. I mean, all the pieces were there.

“Mary’s resurrection is what he desires. The convergence of dissipating will, the revival of the soul– that is Mary’s duty.”

Yeah, that’s right there in the Bible. Probably somewhere in the back.

“When Mary fulfills her duty, Zarathustra shall speak!”

You mean Zoroaster? We really can’t rule anything out in this plot, anymore.

And then it’s time for a Mary-on-Mary chaingun fight. Easter’s come early, bitches!

T-elos decides to go for the Shion.

“You may very well be the Maiden, but interfere and you will regret it. Do you understand?”

Oh, no! MOMO! Save her!

“You don’t have to be afraid. It’s all right, I’m not going to kill you for his sake.”

Getting mixed signals here…

So KOS-MOS grabs Shion away, and then starts soaking T-elos energy blasts to protect her maiden.

KOS-MOS is repeatedly being shot in the back, and she asks Shion if she’s all right.

Shion asks what the hell is going on, and KOS-MOS replies that right now she is simultaneously Mary and Not-Mary. Schrödinger’s Mary.

“Wasn’t it you who said that the heart changes, from one moment to the next?”

I went back and checked, and this wasn’t an exact quote, but it’s pretty close to what Shion was talking about two chapters ago when she last needed a KOS-MOS hug. On a side note, KOS-MOS, please don’t learn sensitivity from the emotional basket case that is Shion.

“And she’s kind of a jerk!”

KOS-Mary admits that she has no damn idea what will happen if T-elos succeeds.

Okay, this is why I miss the “acting” that most of the game forsook for stupid dialogue boxes. There’s more “said” in this completely wordless three second scene than a thousand “Oh, KOS-MOS I’m concerned for you” “Oh, me too, Shion” admonishments. T-elos wants to murder everybody, KOS-MOS will hold her off, but she’s obviously in pain, and Shion is afraid for her friend. There. Can we move on, now?

Guess not.

“Listen, T-elos! If your existence… will bring harm to my friends in any way, then I will be forced to stop you!”

Hey, Junior, you feel bad for thinking KOS-MOS was a random object?

And now for some audience participation.

Final T-elos boss fight. For posterity, I included the stats for the previous T-elos fight. How far we’ve come. Incidentally, the steal item for this battle is Life Demon, another accessory that allows you to drain HP with every hit. Useful.

Naturally, we can’t go a round without getting chatty again.

“I will be your friend, or kill you trying.”

T-elos mostly uses her knuckles for attacks.

She also uses random ether abilities, usually of the beam variety. It’s actually a rarity for XS3 enemies to straight up use the same spells as the party, so I guess this is here to highlight how T-elos is like KOS-MOS.

She’s prone to countering. Also, KOS-MOS has been using the R-Blade since XS1, so of course T-elos uses the L-Blade. Was Mary Magdalene left handed?

KOS-MOS is not being cooperative, but a T-elos taunt later in the battle usually means a special attack is incoming.

And here’s that special attack! It’s the move that T-elos used to blast everybody back in time at the end of her first big battle, and, as you might expect, it will completely kill any combatant that isn’t defending. While that might sound a lot like the ES enemy special attacks, now that we’re on foot, we’re just a Revive away from having a party member back after such an attack, so it doesn’t make quite the same impact.

T-elos also has her old “this causes my boost gauge to fill really fast” ability from her last battle (and Virgil’s, too).

And she’s got another ability that guarantees critical hits. Basically, the longer this battle lasts, the harder it gets, so finish her quickly.

The next time you open your mouth, you’re dead.

There. Told ya.

Ya know, if there wasn’t a “victory results” screen (which I skipped), the battle would seamlessly transition to “real” cinema time.

So T-elos is preparing that same stupid attack that she used a couple of times during the fight. Yes, it would instantly knock out a party member, but they can get better, Shion. Don’t so concerned.

But in magical cinema land, the last time T-elos used this attack on KOS-MOS, it pretty much killed her. But that was KOS-MOS V3. KOS-MOS V4 can totally handle this. She’s got Erde Kaiser parts!

Here comes the boob ball.

Ziggy is just hoping he doesn’t get blasted into some fake past again.

Oh snap, KOS-MOS palmed it. Take that, T-elos!

Not pictured: KOS-MOS then dribbles the energy blast, spins it around on one finger, and playfully juggles it for a few minutes.

Didn’t work the first time? Let’s try again!

But KOS-MOS is now capable of her own Bosom Blast.

And guess who wins this beam battle, Vegeta.

KOS-MOS traps T-elos in a blue bubble, and then tosses an energy dagger at the defeated bot.

Down she goes.

And now they’re resonating! I don’t even know what that word means anymore!

I guess it’s another word for “mutual glowing”.

And, rather than T-elos absorbing KOS-MOS’s soul, KOS-MOS absorbs T-elos. This doesn’t seem to change KOS-MOS’s actual body… so did we just vaporize Mary Magdalene?

Oh, and as Nephilim said would happen, the door forward opened.

Could… anything be all right at this point?

Guess blue-eyed, emotional KOS-MOS is sticking around.

Hey, whenever Shion says that…

But T-elos is gone now, so let’s talk about her.

T-elos, for being a really lazy concept for a villain (what if KOS-MOS… but… dark?), actually comes really close to being a worthwhile character.

What we get of T-elos isn’t much: she’s another second banana female that is sadistic and seems to pathologically hate the party. See also: Pellegri, Citrine, and Orgulla. As “Kevin’s robot”, she’s an obvious parallel to “Shion’s robot”, and her constant diametric opposition to KOS-MOS continually highlights how they’re two very different bots.

And there’s probably a good story there…

Think about it: T-elos is apparently only built by Kevin (I don’t think Voyager or Virgil are much into robotics), and you may have noticed that T-elos is a complete jerk. Unless you want to believe that Mary Magdalene’s physical body had a natural “mean gene”, that’s all Kevin. Conversely, KOS-MOS was primarily built by Shion (Kevin was responsible for Proto KOS-MOS, but Shion literally blew that bot’s head off), and, even at her most stoic, KOS-MOS shows a natural aptitude for saving lives and protecting the party. She’s quiet, yes, but it’s a pleasant kind of quiet. If T-elos had been part of the party from XS1, she would probably have suffocated Captain Matthews in a plate of curry, and told MOMO that Albedo’s mind-meld was her fault for wearing such provocative clothing.

And why is this important? Because it tells us more about Kevin without needing Kevin to creep around (more). T-elos is an awful inversion of KOS-MOS, and she didn’t happen in a vacuum. Kevin built T-elos to surpass the “failed” KOS-MOS, and he thought the best way to do that was to create a Bitch Bot. Shion (and friends) had to rebuild KOS-MOS after a T-elos fight, but she didn’t do a thing to make KOS-MOS emotionally harder. And, in the end, Shion’s hope and compassion won over Kevin’s loner hardass, and the day is saved once again by… feelings.

T-elos is a great personification of Xenosaga’s central themes, and a subtle way to reinforce the secret (not a secret) mentality of another character. It’s just kind of a shame that T-elos herself is a one-dimensional shadow clone. Maybe the mean ‘droid needs a spin-off?

Before we get back to the proper narrative, we’ve got Wilhelm and Kevin hanging out. Do you suppose Kevin misses his Testament buddies?

At least we know T-elos wasn’t spouting complete nonsense.

“Hey, Kevin, way to build a loser robot. Maybe you could get some robotics tips from Allen.”

“Rassin frassin… Build a whole new robot out of a corpse for nothing…”

“Don’t worry, my ex is still crazy. For some reason, I think I can manipulate her.”

So these two are hanging out… at the planetarium?

Meanwhile, Fifth Jerusalem is beset by gnosis. If you didn’t believe people could transform into gnosis (remember that plot point?), here’s your proof.

Looks like the entire planet is in danger.

And Abel’s Ark is still around! Guess it wasn’t damaged at all by the whole Yuriev thing that went down in there. That’s… probably not a good thing, because it’s pretty much eating Michtam now. I know a glowy planet when I see one!

Back on the Elsa (which has just been hanging out since we left it a few updates back), the crew is discovering that the universe is going dark.

Human race had a good run…

“Let me see. That’s Lemegeton?! No, it’s similar, but not the same. It’s something else.”

And Juli and Shelley discover that some kind of code like Lemegeton/The Song of Nephilim is running through the UMN. So… computers are summoning gnosis? Almost seems like the least of our worries…

Meanwhile, things aren’t going so hot down here, either.

The Elsa calls in to report that 80% of the universe is dead. So now would be a bad time to fritter away the day on sidequests?

This planet has a function? I guess that would explain why we’re in a room made of magic rocks.

“Yes. Zarathustra is one of the relics of God. Those who worshipped Mary Magdalene brought it with them from Lost Jerusalem. God gave Mary a choice, the power to change the form of this universe.”

Oh yeah, is Shion going to ask chaos why he was hanging out in her magical Mary crypt? Also: God gave Mary Magdalene the power to change the universe? Is… is everybody just taking all of this in stride?

Is this going to lead to a fetch quest or…

Oh, yes, of course. Remember what I was talking (complaining) about earlier? We just determined that this entire room and much of the planet is made of the same crystal as Shion’s pendant, but I guess that one little chunk is the key to the universe? Is it cut particularly well, or… Oh, never mind.

Missed connection: You were a moody scientist and my fiancée, I was the dude with dark hair that got gunned down by my prototype robot. Turns out I’m alive, please meet me in the center of one of the last remaining planets in the universe. Bring Mary Magdalene.

If my emotionless robot can find her soul, surely I can deal with my ex.

“You’re right. I’m uncertain. I don’t even know where I stand. But that’s exactly why I want to see him.”

“I figure, could my life get any worse? No. … Right?”

“And the rest of the party would probably enjoy the walk.”

“Mary Magdalene has fully awakened. KOS-MOS learned the special attack: D-TENERITAS.”

You read it. You can’t unread it.

Speaking of reading, let’s talk about what just happened, and include your Goggle Bob official Guide to Literature snippet for the day.

From the moment chaos asked KOS-MOS, “Where does the real you exist?” back on the Elsa during XS1, we all knew a big “reveal” was coming for KOS-MOS’s “real” identity. This theory was further reinforced when KOS-MOS revealed a mysterious other (existing at all) personality during her blue-eyed moments from the same game. Who is the real KOS-MOS? Well, Xenosaga had a few different options for this reveal:

1. The Dramatic Irony Reveal
Xenosaga could have committed to something like the Blue Virgil reveal: make it really obvious to the audience that “mysterious person” is actually someone the cast would know but never expect. The tension in this situation originates from the expectation that someone is eventually going to learn the secret (Shion discovers the man she kinda/sorta killed is alive and vengeful), and the audience is left to speculate how that inevitable reveal is going to go down. … But I guess Xenosaga wanted to keep the audience guessing, too, so that technique is right out.

2. The “I have no idea who this is” Reveal

Another option is to make KOS-MOS’s other personality its own independent character. In this case, consider Voyager, who is simply “Black Testament” or “Guy in the Black ES” for much of XS2. During the finale of that game, Ziggy immediately recognizes Voyager, and reacts with a bout of uncharacteristic rage. We, the audience, still have no idea who Voyager “is”, but now we want to learn more, and Xenosaga was happy to fill in the details during a spinoff game and sequel. This technique is great for setting up prequels and side-stories, but it’s kind of lame in the last few hours of a three game franchise, so I suppose it wasn’t available, either.

3. The Scooby-Doo Reveal

Red Testament has been Kevin this whole time! This is usually the most obvious “secret” reveal: take a character that has been established in some other fashion, and then reveal that Character A and Mysterious Character B have both been the same character this entire time. In Xenosaga’s narrative, Kevin was always the obvious answer for the enigmatic masked man, because, what, did you think we were flashing back to Shion’s past because we wanted to develop her character? Nope, it was all a trick so that “dead” character could get some screen time before he’s revealed to have been here the entire time OMG. Unfortunately, Xenosaga also burned through practically every auxiliary character in its universe on the way to this reveal, so unless KOS-MOS was going to turn out to be Lapis, we’re left with…

4. The Significant Historical Character Reveal

Want to get some instant pathos for your completely underdeveloped character? Why not claim they’re the reincarnation of a famous historical or mythological figure? That mysterious one-eyed guy who has been gifting the party knowledge? That was Odin the entire time! The poor revolutionary that is fighting for a better country? He’s the reincarnation of George Washington! And, yeesh, we never need to see some jerk with a significant sword revealed as the second coming of King Arthur ever again. You see this trope over and over again in modern fiction, but you keep seeing it because it does a lot of heavy lifting for a writer with a blissful minimum of explanation. Of course Character X was untrustworthy and deceitful this whole time, he was an incarnation of Lucifer all along!

So Xenosaga went with… KOS-MOS is Mary Magdalene. At first blush, that’s an… odd choice.

Okay, it isn’t that crazy if we take Xenosaga at its Xenosaganess. Xenosaga loves itself some Christian Mythology (I hope I’m not offending anyone by using that phrase, but let’s for a moment consider that Xenosaga is using Christianity in the same way that Final Fantasy interprets Shiva), and the narrative established early that the Xenosaga universe is a natural extension of 21st Century Western Society (Junior quotes The Wizard of Oz and then tells Mary to read a book sometime), and Jesus is then directly quoted by Albedo before XS1 is over. Yes, Xenosaga loves its religious symbolism, but, even more than that, it seems to portray a world like our own where there are characters (Shion, Feb, maybe even Albedo) that seem to believe in a version of Christianity not too dissimilar from our own (or at least with a similar Bible). Following that logic, it’s not that difficult to foresee a Biblical character squeezing into the cast.

But… we need a female to match our sexy robot woman, and the Bible is kind of lacking leading ladies.

Who are the famous women of the Bible? Eve springs immediately to mind, but she is pretty hard to relate to, what with having been born into paradise and all. If we’re allowing for some Jewish Mythology (again, I apologize if I am referring to anyone’s faith as mythology), Lilith, mother of all demons and Adam’s ex, is also pretty popular, but a poor choice for a white hat. Beyond that, we’ve got, what? Esther? She actually seems to grow a personality over her story, but doesn’t really have name-recognition. Same problem for Ruth. And then we’re left with a series of moms, like Hagar, Rachel, Elizabeth, and, of course, (the Virgin) Mary. Nobody on that list really slots easily into a sci-fi adventure.

So we’re left with Mary Magdalene. Mary, honestly, is a pretty good choice, all told. If you really get into the story of Mary, you’re likely to quickly realize that Christianity has had some problems with women for a few centuries or so, and, if anything, her contributions to the whole Jesus thing have been played down dramatically. I believe the current “who is Mary Magdalene” answer is “Jesus’s whore”, but, man is that reductive. First of all, according to all evidence, she was not a prostitute, and that was an invention of random misogynists being responsible for stories for years. Mary was definitely traveling with Jesus, though, and, according to the scripture, was financially supporting the guy. So, if anything, Jesus was Mary’s unemployed boyfriend. And, famously, Mary was around for Jesus’s death and resurrection. This seems to indicate that Mary was someone very close to Jesus, so, whether or not there was a romantic relationship there or not, at the very least, Mary was a trusted confidant of the Big Guy (and, again, not a prostitute).

So the whole Xenosaga narrative here, that Jesus trusted Mary with the keys to the universe, it… kind of makes sense? Yes, Jesus had the twelve apostles, but considering He had some insider information that at least one of those dudes was going to betray Him, Mary does seem like a pretty good choice to be the executor of His will. And this adds some pathos to Mary that isn’t explored in the Bible, as a person that is losing a friend or lover to some greater divine plan is naturally going to have a few issues with an uncaring universe.

In short, if Xenosaga was going to choose a Biblical character to be Jesus’s second banana reincarnated, they did a pretty good job with Mary Magdalene.

That said, it is also completely bonkers that the lasersword wielding, machinegun toting, gnosis obliterating robot from the future with a bosom blaster is the reincarnation of a Middle Eastern woman best known for palling around with Jesus Christ.

That’s never not going to seem weird.

T-elos also dropped a useful chunk of armor for KOS-MOS. Guess that’s appropriate, considering she absorbed her body an’ all.

Let’s move on… And the dungeon continues! Now we’ve got some kind of crystal universe that is even weirder than the last section of the dungeon. For no reason, I’m going to again note that the team that made Xenogears originally proposed it as a concept for Final Fantasy 7, and that same team went on to Xenosaga.

This area doesn’t have any particular gimmicks, it’s just a lot of walking with treasures and gnosis.

Here are the jerks that drop those Cane items for Ziggy’s sidequest. Note how deep we are in this dungeon to even see these creatures.

Because it keeps bothering me, the top screenshot is the EXP reward for beating those gnosis with the Sephirotic Canes (Azazels), and the bottom screenshot is the EXP reward for beating T-elos. As you can see, it appears there is a gigantic gulf between EXP rewards for a boss vs. a random encounter. This leads me to believe that XS3 is balanced against grinding, and the majority of your level ups are earned through set boss/plot gates. This likely explains why earning Ziggy’s best weapon is not the game breaker I initially thought it might be. That’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it.

Anyway, dungeon continues. After everything that just happened, and everything that is about to happen, I bet a lot of people forget this section of the dungeon even exists.

There are weapons around. This is Shion’s second best weapon, and it’s completely useless if you earned her very-easy-to-obtain ultimate weapon before this colossal dungeon even started.

Here’s KOS-MOS’s Level 3 Special Attack. It’s the exact same attack KOS-MOS used to finish T-elos. It’s very powerful, but it only targets one enemy, so it probably won’t see much use outside of bosses. Also, for what it’s worth, nobody wanted to animate that whole “chest unhooking” bit on the battle model.

Another incidental note: Starting with the T-elos battle, KOS-MOS is now in awakened, KOS-Mary mode. All of her animations and attacks stay the same, but her battle quotes and general grunts all change to reflect the new, less robotic KOS-MOS. Rather than end a battle with, “All threats eliminated,” or, “Shion, I need to be cleaned,” she now asks, “Is everyone okay?” or “Anybody want to go out for a gyro? I haven’t eaten in 6,000 years.” It’s a silly little thing (and you wouldn’t even notice it if you didn’t have KOS-MOS in your active battle party), but it’s an appreciated piece of world building.

Oh, a save point. Those are always nice.

And giant crystal stairways to somewhere.

More dungeon.

These Gadreel gnosis appear to be the most powerful gnosis available in the universe. I also don’t know if they’re really lazy designs (the just kinda look like random dudes), or are deliberately supposed to look “human” because XS3 is trying to reinforce the whole “gnosis are mutated humans” thing that will become more important as we move forward. I guess they can be two things…

Managed to get a rare drop from an Azazel gnosis. Xenosaga must be recognizing the hours I put into this franchise.

Evangelist is one of the best accessories in the game, and is great for that grinding levels thing that I just determined is impossible in XS3. But it probably has a drop rate of like 1% or something.

Eventually this dungeon runs into another crystal-based end.

And it’s time for another stairway. Guess it’s more of a ramp, actually. Glad to see this dungeon is handicapped accessible.

Final save point on the ramp. Better make a pit stop.

22:51. This update started at about 22:07, and the whole dungeon began at 19:41. We last saw the Elsa three hours ago.

And we all know what the future holds.

Next time on Xenosaga: Broken hearts and broken necks.

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