- Publisher: Funimation
- Developer: T.O Entertainment, Production IG
- Pros: Interesting details on the Collectors; almost makes you like Vega (until he totally blows it)
- Cons: Awful CG; bland visuals in general; story doesn't add much to overall Mass Effect storyline; should have been released about 3 years earlier
"Paragon Lost" takes place during the same time period as the early part of Mass Effect 2. Shepard is still believed to be dead, and the Collectors have just started abducting human colonies. The anime stars James Vega and his squad of Alliance soldiers who have been ordered to protect the colony of Fehl Prime. For two years everything is calm. Then the Collectors show up.
In a bit of a slap in the face of Mass Effect 2 fans, however, it seems like a lot of the important things Shepard accomplished or discovered (other than actually going through the Omega 4 relay, of course), apparently weren't that unique or important. Vega and his buddies fought off a Collector ship and won. Vega finds out the Collectors are actually Protheans. They even find out about the Terminator Reaper being built on the Collector homeworld. Vega and his buddies also, incredibly enough, made an antidote for the seeker swarms that paralyzed people. On one hand it sort of makes sense - Remember how the Illusive Man kept suddenly getting new intel that helped Shepard? Well, that is tied to what happens here. - but on the other hand, it is James Vega doing it all.
James-freaking-Vega. The anime was in the works prior to the release of Mass Effect 3, when most people decided that Vega totally sucked, but they pressed on with it anyway and Funimation eventually released it on December 28, 2012 - 9 months after Mass Effect 3 came out. After the awful reception Vega got, why bother to release the anime at all? The anime is supposed to reveal Vega's tragic backstory, but there is shockingly little character development here and what little progress Vega does take towards being semi-likeable (by being a genuine badass and not merely a dudebro) over the course of the movie is instantly and irreparably destroyed by the final five minutes of the film. If you didn't like Vega before, you'll probably hate his guts after watching "Paragon Lost".
That last paragraph comes from having knowledge of what happens after the events of "Paragon Lost" and Mass Effect 2, however, which brings up another issue with this movie. It should have been released about three years ago. If it would have been released alongside Mass Effect 2, everything would have made 100% more sense and not been so frustrating. It also would have made James Vega a character players actually cared about in Mass Effect 3 rather than just a random jock who I literally only used for his required missions and then switched to Liara and Garrus (the best characters in the whole series) for the rest of the game. Three years ago it would have been a fantastic addition to the ME universe and a great way to fill in some gaps in the story. Releasing it now, however, didn't really accomplish anything.
Visuals and Sound
The sound is mostly okay, however. The sound effects for the easily recognizable Mass Effect weapons are all present and accounted for, which is a plus. The soundtrack was composed by the same folks who put together the music for the Mass Effect games, so it has that same futuristic electronic mixed with orchestral themes sound to it as the games. The voice work is only okay. English voices are the only option and the cast is made up of Funimation's regulars like Eric Vale, Monica Rial, Vic Mignogna, and Laura Bailey (who I love ... have I mentioned that before), among others, and they do a good enough job. Definitely not on par with the voice work in the games, though, unfortunately.