Rahxephon Vol. #5 (of 7) (Mania.com)

By:Paul Jacques
Review Date: Friday, December 03, 2004
Release Date: Monday, April 19, 2004



What They Say
As the Mu’s grip on the city of Tokyo tightens, Ayato now finds himself pursued between two worlds, with close friends on both sides seeking to destroy him. Even after all he has experienced thus far, the newest shocks he receives are the most terrifying of all. The secret power source of the Dolems is about to be unveiled, and that secret will haunt him to the grave. In order to live, he must be prepared to sacrifice anything… even the life of a friend. The blood of the innocents will flow in the fifth horrifying volume of RahXephon.

The Review!
It’s been a while since I sat down to RahXephon and my expectations are high, so I need a good action volume this time... will I get one?

Audio:
5.1 English is certainly welcome in my room any day of the week, but to be honest they didn’t seem to make much use of the surround capabilities. The Japanese stereo track is good with no problems detected. I swapped between both tracks and got equal enjoyment from both languages. If you’ve got a 5.1 speaker system then by all means go with the English track for that extra sound depth.

The open theme song “Hemisphere” is a corker with a good toe tapping beat. The closing song is called “Fledgling Dream” and is a nice and soothing ballad.

The incidental music is great, dramatic with plenty of urgency and discord in just the right places. In fact music and sound is very central to this series, so pay attention.

Video:
The presentation is a done in nice pastel colours, with a clear definition to the characters physical lines. All-in-all very nice to look at with no visual problems detected, a real pleasure to view on the big or little screen.

Packaging:
The front box cover has RahXephon, emerging from the egg. The rear of the box contains the anime premise, credits and three stills. The disc itself is printed with the same image as the box front cover.

The insert booklet is very good, it’s about 14 pages long and full of art work, character bios (and spoilers) and interviews, so read and enjoy.

Menu:
The menu is presented in a blue, whilst playing in the background is a short piece of strong incidental music (discord). We have the three episode links as well as Scene selection, Languages and Extras. All links worked and no dead ends were encountered.

Extras:
You also get clean open\ close. The Production sketches are good (as usual) and we get Hemisphere played again, and I particularly liked the original artwork. The ADV interview with graphic artist Hiroki Kanno, starts slow and kind of stays that way.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Episode 17 finds Ayato and Quon (in RahXephon) heading towards Tokyo Jupiter with the Vermillion in pursuit, but the Vermillion is blocked from retrieving Quon by the unexpected intervention of another Dolem. Whilst the Vermillion is side-tracked, RahXephon and crew slip quietly into Tokyo Jupiter through a quantum corridor in a bid to evade escape. Vermillion isn’t out for long though, and they use their Dimension drive to slip into Tokyo Jupiter in pursuit of Ayato and Quon. And once again Haruka, inside Vermillion, finds herself back in Tokyo Jupiter because now she will pursue Ayato anywhere!

Inside Tokyo Jupiter Ayato wakes to find himself and Quon in a hospital, with no memory of how they got there. After a short while Ayato's mother comes to visit, and she has a nice a nice little talk to Quon, in Mu! Ayato is definitely having a bad day, so leaving Quon to recover in hospital he goes home to seek out more answers. Along the way he meets some old school friends, and it's obvious from Hiroko's ranting that things are not quite right back inside Tokyo Jupiter. No too mention that Ayato is having visions of Mishima again. The episode ends with Ayato finally finding out if he is human (or not).

Episode 18 we discover that Haruka knows Ayato very, so well in fact that they use to go to school together, but due to the time dilation she is now 12 years his senior. Meanwhile Ayato is taking the discovery of his blood ties very badly, this causes RahXephon to run amok in an attempt to respond to it's master's anguish. In fact no one is having a good day; Hiroko discovers that Torigai is more than he seems; Ayato's mother keeps being pestered by the visage of Mishima; RahXephon is wondering around in bewilderment; Haruka see's "Auntie" through her binoculars (I can't say any more). Only Quon seems OK, and so she starts to sing from her hospital room, but this has unforeseen repercussions.

This episode has some good plot details revealed, so don't skip when watching, otherwise you'll miss some of those answers you've been looking for. After this episode I think I've worked out the Ayato\ Mishima connection.

The last episode in this volume is quite sad, so take a hanky with you: Ayato and Hiroko escape back to the outside world and try to hide out in a hotel. Vermillion once again pursues, but is unable to find RahXephon, leaving Haruka somewhat heart broken. Thus leaving the rest of the story to centre on our two youngsters as they attempt to evade capture and make sense of what they have learnt.

The writers switch focus in episode 20, leaving us to watch this from Hiroko's perspective. We see how she copes with the bad news about her family and her realisation about how the Mu can manipulate the memories of people. And during all this she starts to be hounded by Mulian visions and interference- the outcome of which is most tragic indeed.

If you don’t understand what happens to Hiroko in this episode, go back and watch episode 18 again, to where Ayato's mother is explaining things.

In summary-
Well, this series has mostly been riding the crest of a wave, but it has to said that the first two episodes are a tad dull. This is mainly due to the constant back and forth, between the real world and Tokyo Jupiter, plot element, which to be honest is wearing a tad thin. Luckily a great last episode, with lot's of emotional engagement (sniff), saves this volume from ho-hum~ness. Let's hope the next volume is back to the series high standards.

Features
Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 5.1,English Subtitles,Printed booklet,Production sketches ,Original Cover art,Clean opening close animation,Interview with Hiroki Kanno

Review Equipment
JVC 28" Pure Flat Wide Screen TV, Pioneer 454 Progressive Scan code free DVD player, Logitech Z-680 THX DD/DTS receiver & Speakers. Secondary equipment, 21” Sony Trinitron monitor, ATI 9700pro & PowerDVD v4, Creative Audigy 2 & headphones.



Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: A-
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: ADV Films UK
MSRP: £19.99
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: RahXephon