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Albedo Piazzolla (アルベド・ピアソラ Arubedo Piasora ?) is a character in Monolith Soft's RPG series Xenosaga and the main antagonist in Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht and Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse. He is U.R.T.V. Unit 667, and one of the few surviving U.R.T.V.s from the Miltian Conflict. Despite being mentally unstable, he is highly educated in a number of subjects, including but not limited to philosophy, science, language and religion, particularly ancient (in the Xenosaga universe) Christianity. He is also adept at complex strategic planning and anticipating his enemies' moves well in advance.

Contents

Basic information

It should be noted that all media portrayals of Albedo as an adult utilize the same voice actor who lends his voice to Unit 669, Nigredo. This can be seen in both the English and Japanese releases of the games and anime.

Name

Albedo was named in reference to his milky-white hair. In Psychology and Alchemy (1944), Carl Jung refers to Albedo, or "whitening", as one of the stages of the process of human individuation as symbolized in alchemic terms. Jung also described Rubedo and Nigredo as parts of this process.[1] An additional and more prevalent use of the term is seen in science, where the albedo of a body or surface is a measure of its reflectivity.

Thus far, two transliterations have been used for Albedo's last name. In Xenosaga Episode I, his surname is rendered as "Piasora," while in Xenosaga Episode II it is listed as "Piazzolla" (presumably a reference to Ástor Piazzolla, an Argentinian composer whose surname can also be transliterated as "Piasora").

Storyline

History

Albedo was created by Dimitri Yuriev as U.R.T.V. Unit 667, originally a conjoined twin with Unit 666, Rubedo. U.R.T.V. stands for U-DO Retro Virus, and are bio-engineered weapons designed to fight against U-DO, a mysterious wave existence.

When Rubedo and Albedo were split, they both gained unique abilities, both rooting from the same concept, being cell manipulation. Rubedo gained the ability to control his body's aging, while Albedo could regenerate lost limbs, making him virtually immortal.

Albedo was high-strung and fearful as a child. He clung to Rubedo for protection, and lashed out violently against anyone who attacked Rubedo, once even going so far as to injure and nearly kill a fellow U.R.T.V., Number 623. He did not show any remorse afterwards, indicating his developing sociopathy that would manifest in his later life. He also treated the other "normal" U.R.T.V.s as inferiors, and did not see them as actual people like the way he saw Rubedo and Nigredo.

He was devastated when he learned that Rubedo and Nigredo were not immortal, Nigredo being as vulnerable to aging and injury as any normal human, and Rubedo, despite being capable of stopping his own aging, was still susceptible to death by injury. The thought of living forever, all alone, without Rubedo to protect him, made him extremely sad and scared. This caused him to become mentally unstable, and he made a new hobby out of digging practice graves for Rubedo and Nigredo, as to not cry when they really died.

In Xenosaga I&II, it was learned that the first time Albedo attempted to contact U-DO was during a training exercise inside Sakura's Encephalon. Sakura saved him by jumping in front of him, and she was killed when U-DO hit her. Although Albedo hated Sakura, he felt terrible guilt for her death because it hurt Rubedo. This would lead to his obsession with Kirschwassers and MOMO later on.

Fourteen years ago, during the Miltian Conflict, the U.R.T.V.s were sent down to Miltia as part of the Third Descent. While there, however, Rubedo learned that if he used his Red Dragon power against U-DO, it would produce a thermal reaction capable of destroying the entire planet. Rubedo aborted the mission and cut off the mental link between him and the other U.R.T.V.s, fearing for their lives. This resulted in U-DO waves striking most of the U.R.T.V.s, causing them to be destroyed. Albedo also came into contact with U-DO at this time, causing him to go insane.

Crazed and delirious, Albedo managed to sneak aboard the Song of Nephilim shortly after he turned on Rubedo and Nigredo at Labyrinthos. He was found by Sellers and his U-TIC personnel, who were preparing to abandon Miltia using the Song as a giant lifeboat. After that, he was taken in by the Ormus Society and placed under Margulis' jurisdiction. He became a freelance U-TIC agent and was given one of its five A.M.W.S. craft, E.S. Simeon, as his own personal vehicle.

Episode I

Albedo is first seen in the asteroid Pleroma, the base of Margulis, a commander of the U-TIC Organization. Shortly after MOMO and Ziggy escape Pleroma, Albedo shows up with a Kirschwasser, one of his minions, and Margulis tells him he's too late to catch MOMO.

He's later seen with his Kirschwasser, once again, on Pleroma, interrupting a conversation between Margulis and his soldiers. He tells Margulis that he's going to retrieve MOMO himself, stating he'd do a better job than Margulis' "dogs". According to the database, he frequently calls MOMO "ma peche" throughout the game. This translates to "my peach" since MOMO's name is peach in Japanese. He boards his A.M.W.S., the E.S. Simeon, and leaves Margulis. He slowly follows behind the Durandal, a ship owned by Jr. Incidentally, MOMO is also on this ship.

While following Jr.'s group, Albedo constantly kept in touch with Margulis, and was delighted when Margulis told him that, if the need arises, Albedo was allowed to summon the Song of Nephilim, a dangerous space station that could play a song that drives the listeners insane. This would distract the Kukai Foundation and Second Miltia long enough to help him catch MOMO. Additionally, Margulis' superiors would manipulate the Federation to both allow Albedo to summon the Song and cover up U-TIC's tracks. When Margulis' plans fail, Albedo immediately summons the Song, and leaves the station to kidnap MOMO at the Kukai Foundation. On the way, he flies through a battlefield, where Federation A.G.W.S. units are facing off against Gnosis. In his E.S. Simeon, he destroys many A.G.W.S.s as well as Gnosis, and continues toward the Kukai Foundation. Once there, he catches MOMO and brings her back to the Song of Nephilim.

Once at the Song, Albedo intimidates MOMO, hoping for her to faint so he can easily get the Y-Data, a mysterious amount of data placed into MOMO's mind by Joachim Mizrahi, MOMO's creator. At the Song, he murders all of his Kirschwassers and tosses them in his chambers. MOMO finds him sitting comfortably on his "throne," cradling the body of a slain Kirschwasser in his hands, before he snaps one of its arms effortlessly and tosses it aside. To intimidate MOMO, he uses a small knife to saw off his own arm (edited from the American version and made to look as if he rips it off), which he then regenerates. He then decapitates himself, lets his severed head taunt MOMO, and finally crushes his head underneath one foot before regenerating that too. The URTV is greatly amused by the fact that MOMO wants Jr., or Rubedo, to come and save her. Once MOMO lost consciousness, Albedo began to absorb her mind, learning every thought and memory that MOMO ever had. He continues to absorb her mind until he is interrupted by Jr. and his group.

Once they show up, he taunts them, and finally takes part of the Y-Data from MOMO, showing him that Shion Uzuki and KOS-MOS, two members of Jr.'s team, are somehow involved with it. He climbs back into his E.S. Simeon and fights the group. This is a very difficult battle, because the E.S. Simeon is bigger and more advanced than the A.G.W.S. Units owned by Jr. and his group. Once they defeat Albedo, however, he gets out of the E.S. Simeon and shoots a blue aura at Jr., who retaliates with a red one. Their fight is interrupted by Luis Virgil, the Blue Testament. Virgil insists that Albedo get his job done, and stop playing around with Jr.'s group. Albedo leaves the Song of Nephilim in his E.S. Simeon while Virgil fights Jr.'s group.

Once Jr. and MOMO's group escaped the Song of Nephilim and boarded the Durandal, they tried to destroy the Song, but were in shock when their blast deflected off of it. Albedo re-enters the scene in his E.S. Simeon, and summons Proto Merkabah, a large space station that was once home to Joachim Mizrahi and MOMO, using the knowledge he had gained from MOMO's memories. The Song of Nephilim enters a port of Proto Merkabah to help power it, and several Gnosis are absorbed to use an energy source. He uses this station to blow up the entire Federation fleet of ships. He sets his next target to nearby planet Second Miltia. However, Jr. tells him to wait before he blows up Second Miltia, so that he can get to Albedo and finish the conflict once and for all.

Jr. and his group board Proto Merkabah and reach Albedo in the core room, and he shows the group his will, a shining power that exists within everyone. His, however, was very bright and large. Albedo reminds Jr. of what he did to his comrades during the conflict when he 'broke the link', showing a brief scene of Jr. holding his head with an aura around him that sends the standard URTV units flying. This differs from the events stated in Episode II but it was most likely due to the change in story writer. He fights Jr. and the others personally, but he is defeated after a long and difficult battle. He reveals to the group his motive: To make Jr. pay for abandoning him and the other U.R.T.V.s fourteen years ago. He then reveals Sophie Peithos, a fusion of Proto Merkabah's core and the Gnosis absorbed by the space station. Albedo leaves Jr. to fight this massive beast, and returns to his E.S. Simeon in space. He watches from afar as the space colony plunges toward Second Miltia on a crash course, due to Sophie Peithos' defeat. He watches as the group escapes on the Elsa, and Proto Merkabah self-destructs.

Although there is a sense of completion at the end of Episode I, Albedo's summoning of Proto Merkabah was to distract the galaxy from the true intentions of Ormus, the organization seemingly behind the plans of U-TIC, and test the power of Shion, Jr., and friends, though details behind these motives are not given directly. However, Albedo is clearly thinking that he is acting on his own terms, which results in the Proto Merkabah incident. Virgil is insenced at Albedo's summoning of "needless toys," however the Red Testament, Kevin Winnicot, tells him to let Albedo be for now. This is most likely so Wilhelm, the leader of the Testaments, the CEO of Vector Industries, and ex-Executive Committee Director, can gauge Albedo's power and decide exactly what he wants to do with him in the time to come.

Anime

In the Xenosaga anime, based on the events of Episode I, Albedo has a similar role as he did in the game, with a few differences. He first shows up in his E.S. Simeon, watching the Woglinde, a Vector Industries ship that Shion resides on, get attacked by Gnosis. He charges at the Woglinde, crashing into it and entering the ship. His crash happens to knock Shion unconscious, who was with Albedo's escaped Kirschwasser. In the anime, he only has one Kirschwasser assistant, who had previously run away from him and disguised herself as a 100-Series Realian. By threatening the unconscious Shion, Albedo had managed to convince the Kirschwasser to rejoin him.

Albedo then heads to Pleroma to get MOMO, but he is greeted by Margulis, who tells him that MOMO had just recently escaped along with Ziggy. Albedo decides to go after MOMO himself. Albedo was sent to the Woglinde to get the Zohar Emulator onboard, but he tells Margulis he decided to grab his Kirschwasser instead, claiming that it didn't matter, because the Zohar Emulator is not the real Zohar.

Albedo leaves to find MOMO, but is instructed by Margulis to wait a bit before doing anything, as Margulis had already set a plan of his in motion, so Albedo returned to Pleroma and waited.

When told that he could step in by Margulis, Albedo quickly gets in the E.S. Simeon and flies to the Kukai Foundation, where he finds it under attack by Gnosis. He takes the opportunity and captures MOMO, after quickly defeating Jr.

Albedo summons the Song of Nephilim, then soon after summons Proto Merkabah, using it to absorb the Gnosis and the Song, as well as destroy 400 Federation A.G.W.S. Units.

It is at this point that Albedo begins absorbing MOMO's memories, hoping to get to the Y-Data, at the core of her programming. When interrupted by Jr., Albedo discovers that MOMO's data has traps within it thanks to Joachim Mizrahi, and Albedo is thrown back from MOMO. He summons his E.S. Simeon, and fuses it with his Kirschwasser, transforming the E.S. Simeon into a large Gnosis.

After the Gnosis is destroyed by KOS-MOS, Albedo escapes, watching as Proto Merkabah self-destructs due to the Kirschwasser's final act of bravery. He watches this from his E.S. Simeon, which has somehow been reverted back into a robot form.

Although the anime is official, it is not considered canon. Episode I has important plot points not touched on in the anime.

Episode II

Albedo is still in the E.S. Simeon the next time he's seen, as Gaignun Kukai contacts him telepathically to find out what he's up to. Albedo taunts Gaignun, who gets angry and causes Albedo's arm to explode. Albedo regenerates it and cuts off the mental link between Gaignun and himself.

Later on, on Second Miltia, MOMO undergoes maintenance by Juli Mizrahi. However, the process is interrupted when Albedo hacks into her mind and attempts to get the rest of the Y-Data. MOMO, however, starts to delete her memory to save everyone. The group dives into MOMO's mind using the Encephalon, and there they see a long series of Jr.'s flashbacks, because Jr. was the person closest to MOMO, and because Albedo was now a part of MOMO, a result of his absorbing her thoughts in Episode I.

Through the flashbacks, Albedo's full past is revealed. It is shown that Albedo was once very timid and weak, until U-DO had corrupted him. The signs of natural mental instability were also visible in young Albedo as well.

While Jr.'s group views these flashbacks in MOMO's Encephalon, the recent, true Albedo emerges and fights Jr. Once Jr. manages to defeat him once more, MOMO appears in her own mind and demands everyone stop fighting. Albedo takes this chance to shoot a large beam at her, gathering even more of the Y-Data from her. He leaves the virtual world of the Encephalon and reawakens in the E.S. Simeon. With more of the Y-Data, Albedo and the E.S. Simeon begin to glow, and they disappear from space. Jr., back on Second Miltia, states he can feel Albedo's heartbeat fading. This action led to the opening of the path that led to Old Miltia, the planet that Joachim Mizrahi had sent to the Abyss during the Miltian Conflict. Since Albedo cannot die, he survives as nothing more than a few particles, floating around in space.

Much later, Albedo returns by using his regenerative powers to bring all of his particles back together in the Ω System, a huge space fortress that was home to Ormus, along with the Original Zohar (the ultimate energy source) and Proto Ω, a large superweapon. Ormus' Patriarch meets up with Jr.'s group here, hoping to use Proto Ω, the Zohar inside of it, to destroy them along with whoever else stands in his way. Albedo appears at the scene, telling the Patriarch that the power of the Zohar belonged to him, and that the Patriarch had no need for it. The Patriarch, unwilling to relinquish the Zohar, simply dismisses Albedo as "Yuriev's ghost" and regards him as a "lower lifeform." Albedo attempts to attack the Patriarch and Proto Ω, but is disintegrated by the superweapon's beam attack and reduced once again to particles. When Jr.'s group defeats the Patriarch, however, Albedo is brought back by the Testaments Kevin, Virgil, and Black Testament Voyager, who speed up the process of Albedo's regenerative powers. Albedo immediately absorbs more U-DO waves from the Zohar and transforms the entire Ω System into a Space-Time Anomaly.

Jr. enters this anomaly, hoping to put a stop to Albedo's madness. Albedo manipulates the anomaly to taunt Jr., showing him revised memories to make Jr. hate him. Albedo constantly dared Jr. to kill him, almost as if he wanted to die. He claimed that Jr. was the only one who could kill him. Despite Sakura's sacrificing herself to save him, Albedo told Jr. that he killed Sakura, hoping he would become angry enough to kill him, but his false claim was dismissed. Jr. finally reaches Albedo and enters Red Dragon Mode, a powerful ability that only Jr. possesses. Albedo tells Jr. of his plans, to shove the entire universe into a higher-order domain, where everyone will be fused into one perfect existence. Albedo provokes Jr. into a fight, during which Albedo taunts Jr. mercilessly in an effort to get Jr. to land a killing blow. Jr. happily obliges and defeats his brother. As the Space-Time Anomaly crumbles, Albedo warns Jr. to beware Gaignun's shadow. Although Albedo, fused with U-DO, could have simply annihilated himself, he specifically chose Rubedo to use the Red Dragon Mode to destroy him. Winged Kirschwassers arrive and take the now deceased Albedo away. (Note: Although Albedo is an Anti Existence of U-DO, seeming to be possible that he could have obliterated himself, he claimed that he lost his body merging with U-DO, but felt much better. Since he lost his body it could be considered that in fact Albedo lacked the power to obliterate himself and needed Jr.'s power to kill him.)

Later on, Wilhelm has a meeting with his three Testaments. During this meeting, Albedo arrives, now as the White Testament. He also possesses a redesigned E.S. Simeon. Wilhelm formally introduces the new White Testament as the "Weaver of the eternal circle of Zarathustra."

Episode III

A year after the events of Episode I and Episode II, the four Testaments stand in a cave on a floating island in space known as Rennes-le-Chateau, near the tomb of Mary Magdalene. Voyager and Albedo stand in silence as Virgil mocks Kevin, and his infatuation with Shion.

Albedo shows up again in Rennes-le-Chateau's cave, interrupting an argument between Virgil and Shion. Albedo takes an Anima Relic, an E.S. power core, out of Virgil's defeated E.S. Naphtali. Jr. instantly recognizes the White Testament's voice as Albedo's, and calls out to him desperately. Albedo pays no attention to Jr.'s pleading cries, as he and Virgil retreat on the E.S. Simeon.

Back in Wilhelm's office, Wilhelm and Kevin discuss Yuriev, who is on Abel's Ark (A massive Gnosis that appeared shortly after Albedo's death one year ago) and powering Ω to ascend to the realm of U-DO, so he can defeat it and become a god. Kevin asks if he should send Albedo to retrieve Abel, a boy with impressive powers and piloting skill, and the Zohar, which are both in Ω. Wilhelm responds, "He wants to go, doesn't he? It's what he's always desired."

Under orders from Wilhelm and Kevin, Albedo makes his final appearance on Abel's Ark. After Jr.'s group defeats Yuriev and Ω Metempsychosis (The final form of Ω), Albedo appears and unmasks himself, revealing his identity to Jr. He takes the Zohar and Abel out of Ω and teleports them to Zarathustra on planet Michtam, where Wilhelm is waiting for them.

Noting that Yuriev, who was the only survivor of the original human link experiments to U-DO, still has portions of U-DO inside of him, Albedo instructs Jr. to start a mental link with him to destroy Yuriev. Jr. refuses to do so, knowing that Gaignun's consciousness is inside Yuriev. Albedo plans to have Gaignun's consciousness transfer into Jr.'s body, and help Jr. and Albedo destroy Yuriev.

However, Gaignun's consciousness instead enters Albedo's body, and pushes Albedo's consciousness out of his own body and into Jr.'s, believing that's what Albedo truly wanted. Gaignun, now in Albedo's body, reveals that he was created to monitor and destroy both Jr. (the "Red Dragon") and Albedo. Since he does not want to kill them, he feels he has no reason to exist. Gaignun sacrifices himself—and Albedo's body—to destroy Yuriev. After that, Albedo's consciousness speaks to Jr.'s, and the two come to terms with each other as Albedo fades away into Jr.'s consciousness, once again becoming one with him. Albedo says he will go to "sleep", but promises to return eventually with the hope that he, Jr., and Gaignun will some day be able to be together again like when they were children. His final words as he goes into slumber tell Jr. that Abel and the Zohar are on Michtam.

After all was said and done, Wilhelm and Kevin are presented with another Anima Relic, presumably Albedo's restored E.S. Simeon, and Wilhelm states "Now his wish has come true." This shows that Wilhelm was aware of Albedo's fate, and that what happened in the end is what Albedo really wanted.

Censored scenes

Albedo shows a great deal of perversion and madness which lead the creators of Episode I to modify two cutscenes that included him when localizing the Japanese game into the North American version, both involving MOMO. In the Japanese version, when he is extracting the Y-Data from her, he reaches directly into her body and extracts the data manually, with a look of ecstasy on his face. This scene was changed for its overtones of pedophilia, to merely hovering his hand over MOMO's head, absorbing the data. When she entered his chambers in the Song of Nephilim, Albedo originally snapped the arm of one murdered Kirschwasser before knifing off his arm and head, an act which included a great deal of blood. In the American version, he simply drops the Kirschwasser's arm, then rips off his arm and head.[2] Many, however, consider the American version of the scenes to be far more graphic than the "uncensored" ones in the Japanese version because the Japanese ones were self-censored by blobby "black bars" which filled up certain portions of the screen where these violent and disturbing acts were occurring. In Episode II another scene involving Albedo was also altered. During the flashbacks which take place in MOMO's subconscious domain, a young Albedo is shown testing his newly discovered regenerative powers in front of Rubedo and Nigredo. In the North American version, he blasts his head off with a self-produced energy ball; in the Japanese version, he pulls out a pistol and shoots himself in the head.[3]

Notes and references

  1. ^  Zyworld: Alchemy. URL accessed January 4, 2006.
  2. ^  The uncut "Ma Belle Pêche" scene from Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht in English

See also








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