RahXephon Vol. #03 - Mania.com



Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1-59116-428-1
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

RahXephon Vol. #03

By Eduardo M. Chavez     May 02, 2005
Release Date: April 05, 2005


RahXephon Vol.#03
© Viz Media


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Momose Takeaki (created by BONES/Izubuchi Yutaka)
Translated by:Joe Yamazaki
Adapted by:

What They Say
TERRA's final battle with the MU has begun, and Ayato's fact-finding mission in Tokyo Jupiter has left him confused and uncertain. His bond with his "mother," Maya, his allegiance to TERRA, the fate of the world - Ayato's mind is a torrent of conflicting memories and half-truths. Yet while the war for Tokyo's future rages on, Ayato keeps one thing close to heart - his resolution to protect his childhood friend Reika.

But now TERRA has a new weapon in its arsenal - the Vermillion fighters. Will these giant robots may Ayato's RahXephon obsolete? Or is Ayato TERRA's only true means of defeating the MU?

The Review
Packaging:
Presented in a tall B6, volume three features Reika in a TERRA uniform with wings in front of the RahXephon. This cover is has a lot of white with shades of violet, it really makes Reika and her uniform stick out a bit in contrast. The opposite over has an image of the RahXephon and the dark Belxephon locking heads to the right of the volume description. Viz uses one of the two logos present on the Japanese cover. Obviously, they used the English logo but they changed the color from blue to a multi-tone (from blue to navy to violet).

Inside, Viz's production features some nice printing, the original volume header, artist notes and an ato-gaki - The Making of RahXephon Last. There are also ads for Saikano, Battle Angel Alita, BeyBlade and Gundam: the Origin. All in all a decent, production without problems.

Artwork:
Momose's designs are cute but simple, though whenever he has a chance he will always give them that special touch of fan service that has made him so popular (IE: Miami Guns). His designs really do not much detail to them, but when needed Momose might toss in a cheekbone or wrinkle to spice things up. His profiles tend to be a little awkward as his jaw lines are funky. He doesn't really show much depth so his characters have a flat feeling, but his females are often cute and curvy. What really impresses me about his work is his costume work. It reminds me of some Murata Range works at times, as he likes tight fitting costumes with buttons and interesting line placement. His characters are always to scale and they tend to look good in the backgrounds he draws (when he draws them). While I love his designs, they really suit his etchi comedies more so than sci-fi dramas. I have to say that I was disappointed with his backgrounds. They are simply not used enough and the simple layout slowed my reading down too much at times. Given how this is a sci-fi story and it is cast in the future, I was expecting more detail as to how the Japan would look to Momose.

The fan service is not as high as in previous volumes. A few panty shots (which Momose and Izubuchi make fun of) here and there, but no nudity. Like Murata, Momose pays special attention to the placement of seams and buttons to maximize etchi-ness.

Text/SFX:
This series has its SFX translated with overlays. The touch up is good and never really compromised the art.
With this version being my only experience with the RahXephon manga I am not sure how good the translation is but everything sounds good. I will say I have experience with Momose works and the dialogue and tone sounds very much like his other works - Miami Guns (yup, that is one major difference from the anime).

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Sometimes truth is much more devastating than lies, for truth cannot be made up and changed for convenience like lies. Ayato has been living a lie for most of his life. His memories were all made up and redone to give him a sense of comfort and keep him from questioning all the wrongs that are occurring around him. This was all a part of a plan set up by his mother and other Mulians. But, even his relationship with his mother can be considered another lie he has been forced into.
The truth is often difficult to find. Some people may even say that truth is only what someone believes. It can be different things for different people.

That perfectly describes Ayato’s life. Even if his life has been a lie, it is also the only life he knows which makes it the truth in his mind. His feelings are there. His attachment to life and humanity is there, but more importantly for him is that his emotions towards Reika have been real. His fight is real and the people around him are as real enough to him he has to protect them all. Truth is what he makes of it and in the end if he does not choose what he believes is real or not, none of what he does will have any meaning. Therefore, Ayato must make his future one that is worth living. He has that ability; the RahXephon has given him that ability and he must do it for Reika's sake and his sake as well. But which future is worth living? Humanity's or the Mu's?

Comments
If the RahXephon manga were to illustrate a point, I guess it had to be that there are many sides to everything. This plurality defends the idea of two worlds coexisting on Earth. It realizes the unique lives of people like Ayato and Reika have in their many reincarnations. It also supports the relationships that Reika, Itsuki and others have in both worlds, both places in time and space. This concept can even be extended to help there be at least two versions of the RahXephon property. In the end, it can allow a young man to make his wishes come true, without him living them out himself. His wishes are an extension of him and they could be considered another version of him, as well.

Momose's RahXephon has a much more personal feel to it. It is definitely more like Ayato's personal journey; where as the anime’s entire cast is critical to the progression of the plot. Ayato is the center of this manga, as he is essentially the center of this world where eventually his wishes dictate the future. Oh, more plurality! That change gave Momose that ability to make some changes to the story without influencing the pre-existing world of RahXephon too much. The supporting cast is still there - Megumi, Kim and others - but with them off to the side in scenery more often, Ayato, Reika and Haruka share a little world together.

What I really found fascinating about this series is how Momose quickly a quietly changed this from what Izubuchi called a Panty Manga to a good sci-fi drama. The change happened in the second volume, and by this final volume, I almost forgot how etchi this series was. I guess that is in tune with Ayato and Reika's development through this story. These kids were just teens goofing around when first met them. War was something they never thought about. Issues of mortality were concepts I would not have foreseen to be considered. Nevertheless, by the end, that very subject was their lives.

A story that grew up with its characters... Who would have thought? And in the end made for a good little series. I generally do not like manga remakes of anime titles, but Momose and Viz did good work with this one and it deserves a look.

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