The world is suffused with sound, not Evangelion.
What They Say
In the year 2015, the world outside of Tokyo has been destroyed... or so it appears. High school student Ayato Kamina encounters a sudden fighter attack of mysterious origins. In the midst of the destroyed city, he meets a mysterious girl named Reika Mishima. As if led by Reika, Ayato boards the subway and arrives at the sanctuary where he comes upon the moment in which the giant humanoid being, "Rahxephon," emerges from its egg. Now, Ayato must pilot the Rahxephon in defense of his world and discover the truth behind his skewed reality.
For this viewing session, we primarily listened to the English dub. We also previewed some of the Japanese episodes to compare the voice acting quality. The audio was crisp and clear. We did not experience any distortions or dropouts. The English cast was enjoyable and the voice actors seemed to line up with the precedence set by the Japanese voice cast. In fact, one can arguably say that the English voice cast closely parallels that of the Japanese cast. The music used in the series was very fitting and definitely set a memorable precedence.
Originally airing in 2001, RahXephon is another beautiful masterpiece from BONES. The show will soon be 10 years old. Don’t let the age fool you as the animation quality for this series has stood the test of time and holds well to the newest of anime creations. The animation quality is superb with a lot of detail. The character designs are captivating and unique, especially the designs for the Dolems and the RahXephon. The colors used in the series, like the lush blue sky backgrounds or the water sequences, look great. Cross coloration is virtually non-existent. There is some minor aliasing that appears, but nothing too noticeable. The transfer looks essentially flawless for a standard DVD release.
The movie contained in this collection was released in 2003. With that, the RahXephon movie transfer is presented in the same full frame (4:3) format. As with the TV series, the quality is still outstanding and flat out awesome to watch. The new footage is easy to identify, especially when immediately viewing it after watching the entire 26 episode series. This, by no means indicates, does not mean that the animation looks any different. However, it does manage to match the existing pieces animation seamlessly. As with the television series, the movie is free of cross coloration with little to no aliasing. Again, a great standard DVD release.
The box for the Grand Cannon collection is made of chipboard. The front of the box features a fossilized version of the RahXephon holding onto a stone pillar. In the background is a looming image of Tokyo Jupiter. The colors used with the box are in hues of red, yellow, and white. The back side of the box features the RahXephon as depicted in the series at with a silhouette of a female character, possibly Quon, at the bottom of the box. The image depicted here could be open to interpretation as it feels a bit fanservicy… The front covers for each of the 8 thinpack DVD cases closely resemble the artwork that was used on the original DVD releases. The colors used for the DVD’s resemble the color hues that are used for the box with the primary color being red. There are a few subtle differences in artwork as compared to the single releases. The back side of each thinpack contains a summary of the episodes contained in each thinpack along with the technical specs and credits. Another nice touch is that the spines for all eight DVDs, when placed in correct order, make up the face of the RahXephon.
The menus for the DVDs appear to be the same as the original single disc release. The menus use the artwork from each thinpack cover. A small cutout area displays some animation sequences from the show while a portion of the score from the series plays. The layout is simple and easy to navigate with each episode selectable from the main menu. There are no transitional animations, which allow for quick access.
With great excitement, I can tell you that all of the extras from the single releases are included in this collection. This is true for the series, but does not hold true for the movie as the original movie release did not have extras. Some of the highlights of the extras include:
• The textless opening and ending sequences.
• Special Japanese promotional trailer from the show
• Production sketches.
• Interviews with the English voice actors
• Interviews with the Japanese cast and staff
• Interview Hiroki Kanno
• Japanese cover artwork
• The four minute “Fate of Katun” music video
It is great to see that all of the extras from the single releases are included, which adds more to the value of this collection. There are some quality issues such as sound with some of the English voice actor interviews, but nothing too noticeable. Having all of this included further reinforces the package name, Grand Cannon Collection.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers).
Originally airing in 2002, RahXephon is the creation of Yutaka Izubuchi and the infamous animation studio, Bones. Izubuchi is famous for designs that include Gundam and Patlabor. The story is a psychological drama that contains a love story within the core of its being.
RahXephon is a fabulous series that cannot escape the comparison to that of Neon Genesis Evangelion. They are very much alike, yet very much different. I hold each one of them in high regard as a fan, but will not use this review to persuade you to like on series over another. I will leave that task with the viewer and the web forums. If you are new to RahXephon and/or Neon Genesis Evangelion, you will soon become familiar with both as they are topics that can, and most likely, will be debated to the end of eternity.
From here on out, this review will focus on what makes RahXephon a great anime series.
RahXephon starts out like your typical anime series with a typical 17 year old high school kid living in Tokyo. He has a typical school life, typical friends and enjoys art, especially painting. His favorite subject is a girl. A girl he dreams about. That’s where everything that’s typical about RahXephon ends. The year is actually 2015, and the rest of the world is supposedly gone. It and the rest of the human race was decimated by an alien race, the Mu. At least that’s what the typical 17 year old thought, until one day…
Ayato finds himself in the middle of an attack of some sort in Tokyo. He finds himself face to face with the image of the girl from his dreams, and then that image turns into a woman that would change his life forever, Mishima. Through a barrage of Dolem (clay-like creatures controlled by the Mu) and enemy attacks, Ayato finds himself lead to a beautiful chamber. There the vehicle of his transformation awaits, RahXephon. This is where Ayato's destiny begins.
RahXephon is at its heart a love story, a story about the love between a boy and a girl that grew and blossomed when and where it wasn’t supposed to. It is that tenacious kind of love that never fades. It’s the story about the love of a people for their own kind, despite the color of their blood. The fierce love works tirelessly and fearlessly to see a dream come to pass. Both of these stories involve love and passion that transcends the here and now. Both strive to use the space between hope and final destiny to make the sheer force of their wills come to pass. Caught in the middle of all these conflicting interests is that not so typical 17 year old boy that holds the future of two different people groups in his very confused hands.
Across the 26 episodes this singular tale explores the depths of what love is to a wide array of individuals. What is found isn’t always lovely to hear, but strikes a chord of truth all the same. The complexity of the series is further defined as the mystery of who the Mu really are and what their core purpose is. The mystery behind the RahXephon itself is shrouded in mystery as it plays a key role in not only allowing Ayato to pilot it, but to also discover his purpose in what is yet to come.
The unfolding of the plot is orchestrated from the perspective of the main character, Ayato. Through his eyes we experience his confusion regarding the revelation of the true state of the world as well as his role in life. As the episodes move past us, the themes slowly come forward. All the same, the series is not slow paced. The creators keep us in suspense regarding the fates of key characters all the way to the very end of the series.
RahXephon Movie: Pluralitas Concentio
The movie is a must view, especially after watching the series. It is an encore production that provides a very fulfilling and in-depth conclusion that might have left viewers hanging after finishing the anime series. Pluralitas Concentio begins with a prologue that depicts some events that were not shown in the series. The middle part of the film consists mainly of abridged scenes from the original series, sometimes with characters replaced or with different motivations and dialogue. This means that many of the supporting cast members get very little screen time. One will also notice that there are some dramatic changes to Quon as her role is spun in bit of a different tone. The latter half of the movie and epilogue cap the series and add further meaning to the love story that is Ayato and Haruka.
What a Grand Cannon collection this is! RahXephon is a must view series for anyone who is an anime fan. At its core, RahXephon is intelligent, captivating touching, mysterious, and beautifully animated. The plots and subplots are masterfully choreographed. The voice acting in both versions is superb. One could easily mistake this series for your typical Giant Robot anime. After viewing just one episode, one will unquestionably find a story that is truly unique and special. In the end, one will find that RahXephon belongs in a list of anime that define what makes anime such an enjoyable and awesome art of masterful story telling. A must own series for any anime fan!
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Textless opening and ending sequences, Special Japanese promotional trailer from the show , Production sketches, Interviews with the English voice actors, Interviews with the Japanese cast and staff, Interview Hiroki Kanno, Japanese cover artwork, The four minute “Fate of Katun” music video
Hitachi 62VS69 62" UltraVision LCD Projection HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080i