The Payoff...RahXephon Viewers Get Paid Off
Chon-ny | 08/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Viewers hit their first "RahXephon" cliffhanger at the end of the last volume, "Dissonance." With "Synasthesia," fans who have been patiently wading through the second and third volumes will finally start reaping their rewards.As a recap, the title character is a giant robot with yet unexplored but sound-related abilities, and uniquely pilotable by teenager Ayato Kamina. Kamina has just been freed from the space-time bubble surrounding Tokyo-Jupiter (where time runs at a rate years behind) and has been told that what he thought was reality is a construct by an alien race of Murians. The battle for Tokyo-Jupiter and its numerous human inhabitants is waged with Dolems--the Murian giant robots--and RahXephon, on behalf of the "real" Earth.Two major developments took place in the last volume: anti-hero Ayato is revealed, to no one's surpise, to be a himself a Murian, the very controllers of the Dolems he battles. Not only does he have to struggle with everything he has found out about reality, but now has to struggle with tremendous identity issues. Second, Ayato takes off in RahXephon, the strange Quon Kisaragi in tow, and heads back to Tokyo-Jupiter with Vermillion, the outside world's new battle robot, in hot pursuit. With the last eight, nearly nine, episodes devoted to building up tension and developing characters, "RahXephon" is due for an explosion, and "Synasthesia" comes through beautifully.A battle wages between a Dolem seemingly bent on protecting RahXephon, and the pursuing Vermillion, piloted by Elvy Hadhiat, with Haruka Shitou having stowed away in the robot. The Dolem succeeds in stopping Vermillion, then opens a pathway for Ayato, Quon and RahXephon to re-enter Tokyo-Jupiter. Vermillion recovers and uses its new technology to breach the time-space bubble as well. Inside, Ayato and Quon wake up in a hospital; Ayato's fuzzied awareness allows him to remember just enough about reality, but has it blurred enough that he has to take time to wade through his thoughts. He acts as though nothing has happened, even when he runs into classmates Asahina Hiroko and Momaru Torigae...although Asahina exhibits the symptoms of someone who has been brainwashed--forgotten things seem familiar, and her sense of paranoia seems more than justified. Things seem to have settled down for Ayato, however, and he feels a calm as he cuts himself at home and sees that his blood indeed runs red. He goes into a shivering trance when his mother cuts her finger and runs blue blood down his chin.The second episode involves the recovery phase--be sure to listen and take note of where, and exactly what Captain Shitou says when she reminisces about her now taken-over homeland. A Dolem fight erupts, and once the pilot-less RahXephon (seeming to react to Ayato's trauma) destroys the Dolem, its "controller," who exists outside of the Dolem and floats in the Murian headquarters, screams in pain and dissipates. This is extremely important in showing the link between certain Murians and the Dolems. Ayato manages to escape in the Chaos, and runs into Asahina, also in a frenzied state having seen Momaru and herself bleed blue. Ayato makes a rendezvous with RahXephon, and escapes Tokyo-Jupiter with Asahina in his hand. The third episode may be one of the most tragic single episodes from an anime series, perhaps even rivaling the tragic "Rurouni Kenshin" episodes featuring Kenshin's and Soujiro's childhood, or even "Real Folk Blues Part 2" from "Cowboy Bebop." To go into detail as I have with the other episodes would spoil this, one of, if not the most powerful episode of the series. The volume concludes with tensions running high at TERRA headquarters as Vermillion units begin to be mass-produced, rendering Ayato and RahXephon virtually useless. RahXephon has beautiful art, part of the new, modern style of anime seen in "Full Metal Panic," "Gasaraki" and ".hack//sign"--flat, thick-lined, clean illustrations with computer graphics imbedded nicely into the shots. The music finally hits perfect stride, the sad piano notes carrying emotions into overdrive. Unlike most series, you might actually be able to watch this volume on its own and still have some idea of what's going on in "RahXephon." It might be good to read up on what's been going on previously, but this is a good sampler for those wanting to get into the series (the first volume, of course, being the best sampler). I can't emphasize enough how well done the third episode is, with its focus on Asahina and Ayato, and the beautiful, frenetic cuts within the final battle of that episode. The series doesn't peak here; the final episodes have plenty in store, including an ending that, while not as deep as "Neon Genesis," requires some head scratching and rewinding.Highly, highly recommended for anime fans, whether or not you've been hooked or are wanting to get hooked on "RahXephon.""
Marc Ruby? | Warren, MI USA | 09/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ayato's decision to take Quon and flee with the RahXephon triggers a manhunt ordered by Helena Bahbem and the rest of the Institute staff. Ayato penetrates the barrier around Tokyo, followed by Haruka Shitow and Elvy Hadhiyat in a new model robot. But the expected confrontation doesn't materialize. Instead, Ayato comes into conflict with his mother and realizes that he has no more of a home with the Mu than he does with their opponents.Hiroko Asahina, a close friend of Ayato's, discovers that she has blue blood and becomes terribly frightened when no one around her acknowledges it that she begs Ayato to take her out of the city. Which he does, and for a few breathless moments the couple find themselves in hiding, but at peace. Unfortunately the tender interlude is brought to a terrible end by the complex antagonisms that drive the Mulians and their earthly opponents.In the end Ayato, and the viewer, are a bit wiser, but thunderstruck at price of the knowledge. Suddenly we are keenly aware that theis story is far more than an updated Evangelion, but an emotional journey that stands very well on its own. Lit its predecessor, though, it is more about the character and their relationships than it is about epic conflicts between technological marvels.Even now we are unsure where the story is heading, and with only two DVDs remaining in the series it is quite likely we wont really know until the story closes. It is a great credit to director Yutaka Izubuchi that he has been able to maintain the tension of the entire series. There is something special here that sets this series apart from most of the others. Something that makes watching a surprising and rewarding experience."
RahXephon [one hell of an anime].
Marc Ruby? | 09/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I could be wordy like one of the last reviewers who gave it two or three stars in likes that the last episode on this DVD was good, and I could also pretend like I'm a wonderful reviewist by using large words, but I won't.To put it simply, RahXephon is one of the greatest animes, in my book, of all time.As, I think, the last reviewer put it, the artwork and the way it's shown on the screen.. it's incredible and it fits every scene for every moment. The musical score is great with it's jazzed-like feel, yet again fitting every mood for almost every moment. And episode 19, the last episode on this disc, is.. wonderful. I've still got chills and sorrow and everything running through me even to this moment coming from it.RahXephon is one of those animes that calls out to you from the beginning. After you've passed three or four episodes, you're usually as good as hooked, unless you're looking for a little too much of something. The beauty of this anime is that it -does- take so long to answer questions and it keeps you, or atleast me, so interested to continue on to the next DVD and wait another month anxiously for it's arrival. I'm not real big on reviewing, but I have to speak up on this title as a whole.It's great, hands down."