RahXephon Vol. #6 (of 7) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, October 13, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, October 21, 2003
What They Say
As TERRA's obsessive new commander begins a massive build-up for a final assault on Tokyo Jupiter, Ayato's former friend Mamoru attacks Nirai-Kanai in his own Dolem, seeking revenge for Hiroko's death. Meanwhile, a mysterious new cadet has suddenly appeared within TERRA's ranks, a cadet with a hauntingly familiar face. Confronted with his destiny, Ayato must make a terrifying choice: to reclaim the RahXephon or sacrifice everything he holds dear. But even with the RahXephon, can he stop the horror that is about to happen? Too many of his friends are about to die in the shocking sixth volume of RahXephon! .
Moving rapidly to the end of the series, this volume ends with one of the more evil cliffhangers yet.
With so many of my favorite actors filling in the roles here, we were very committed to the Japanese language track with this release. Presented in its original stereo mix, the audio here sounds fantastic. Dialogue is crisp and clear and allowed for some excellent nuanced moments of dialogue to shine through. The music, a gorgeous part of this show, makes out extremely well with the stereo channels and sound lush and warm.
This recent transfer is another one that is indicative of some of the changes made in the past few years, where it’s showing off so many details that you’d normally not even think of seeing in a show like this. Colors are gorgeous, especially the lush blue sky backgrounds or the water sequences. Cross coloration is non-existent and there was only one or two very brief moment of aliasing that stood out. This transfer looks essentially flawless, and with all the original text being done over by soft subtitles, there’s nothing that I can even nitpick at here.
Going with character art again after a break for a few volumes, we get a good trio of characters here that are set against the white pale background as well as the ominous red eyes mixed in. The shows logo retains the original font and has the added volume numbering and volume titling on the front, a rather nice plus. The back cover provides a few screenshots from the show as well as a listing of the discs technical specs and extra features. A summary of the show and a listing of the main production credits are also included. The booklet included with this release is again fantastic. The included booklet once again tackles many of the same subjects, showcasing some artwork, providing interviews and pointing out numerous spoilers in general. These booklets will be very useful on the second viewing of the series.
The menus use the abstract artwork from the cover to provide the basis here with a small area playing animation from the show while a portion of the score plays. The layout is pretty simple and easy to navigate with each episode selectable from the main menu, no transitional animations and quick access loads.
The included extras for this volume are interesting depending on where your mindset is. Once you get finished with the standard extras such as the textless opening and closing and another section of production sketches, you have a “finale” series of interviews with the English voice cast. This feature runs about forty-five minutes in length and hits up a number of the actors from the show and covers various aspects of their careers, from first roles to how they got into the industry and more. I continue to find these very fun and enjoyable to listen to even though I rarely listen to the English track as a primary viewing.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
In the fifth volume, the episodes there ended in such a highly dramatic way when dealing with one of Ayato’s friends from Tokyo-Jupiter that the start of the next volume would be interesting in seeing how they would deal with it.
In fact, there’s a number of aspects that had to be covered. With what went on, starting from Ayato and Quon’s theft of the RahXephon, it set into motion a series of events that had those in charge removed and Isshki the “white snake” promoted from observer to commander of the base. Isshki has definitely seemed off since he was first introduced and even more so after we got a look into his past with Helena and Itsuki. With him in charge now, he starts moving the pieces around in the way he feels is right. He ends up threatening Ayato with execution over what he did and places others on permanent leave. Haruka ends up switching over to his side, but even her attempts to try and ferret out information this way blows up in her face.
What proves to be the most interesting part though is when Isshki is going over new assignments and suddenly in the command room Mishima shows up. Before we realize it, and before Isshki can understand what’s happened, she’s in a full Terra uniform and has adjusted everyone’s minds to believe her to be a newly arrived person named Haruka. She’s now firmly attached to Isshki’s side and uses her abilities to begin tweaking events in the right way that will lead to the Tuning.
There is an immense amount of small scenes throughout these episodes where secondary cast members, people in positions of power and knowledge about what’s been going on since the beginning, find themselves getting ready for what they knew was inevitable. It comes as a surprise to the viewer of course, but watching it all fall into place is fascinating. From what’s going on in the Foundation to the way the Mulians are starting to prepare for events.
The Mulians make an interesting appearance in these episodes as it follows Mamoru, who has left Tokyo-Jupiter and arrived on Ayato’s doorstep as a friend whose made an escape from the Terra folks during the last battle in his home. His arrival in the household is kept fairly secret, which against casts doubt on Ayato’s intelligence level, but also really shines a light on how trusting he is and how much faith he places in the people who gain that trust. Only Megumi ends up meeting him and the two of them prove to have an interesting relationship.
With this being so close to the end of the series, there is a lot going on with the major plotline and some very intriguing ideas being played about and brought to bear. Watching Isshki take control of the organization and bring about something truly unique is fun to watch, especially in how it all shapes itself up and plays out. With Haruka ne Mishima tweaking his mind and getting him to set things up as she wants for her own series of events, seeing him deal with it becomes quite amusing.
This series continues to fascinate from scene to scene. Watching all the characters intermingle and affect each other, from Sayoko’s screaming at Ayato about his obliviousness to the way Megumi deals with learning something about her sister she shouldn’t know, it’s something that can really walks a fine line between turning into a comedy or something very tightly laid out that works. This series is one of the few I can’t wait to finish so I can start it up again.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Finale of the English voice actor interviews,Production sketches,Clean closing and opening animation
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: A+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2