RahXephon Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: RahXephon

RahXephon Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     May 26, 2003
Release Date: May 06, 2003


RahXephon Vol. #2
© ADV Films


What They Say
As the Mu launch a succession of attacks against the free world, TERRA is forced to use their secret weapon, the RahXephon, despite the reluctance of its pilot. Lost in time and trapped in a world he thought had been destroyed, Ayato must confront both a new wave of Dolem and his suspicions that he is only a pawn in a much larger game. The mysterious advances of the girl known as Quon and the reappearance of a supposedly dead friend are only a few of the many mysteries that must be unraveled in the second collection of RahXephon.

The Review!
One of the more intentionally complex show continues on with another four episodes that provide a good number of revelations and teases along the way.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
A similar style of artwork is used here with the somewhat abstract backgrounds and line work. The main image this time is one of the nastier enemies that the Terra organization faces this time around, but almost sketch-like in some areas. 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 is also included. The booklet included with this release is fantastic, providing some gorgeous pieces of artwork and some minor background on the enemies. There’s a few pages of character data and then a couple pages of translation notes and a couple pages worth of interviews with the Japanese creators. There’s lots of info to take in here that helps flesh out the series nicely.

Menu:
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.

Extras:
The on-disc extras are fairly minimal with this volume. We get the opening and ending sequences in textless form again, something that is a continual treat, but we do get a new interview session. Running about thirteen minutes in length, the interview covers three of the English actors; Kira Vincent-Davies, Monica Rial and Chris Patton. They get asked various questions about their roles and characters, talking about some of the quirks behind recording the show and other tidbits. It’s a good extra that suffers from some technical issues though, such as rather low sound (I had to nearly double the volume level to get a good level to hear it at) and the complete lack of subtitles, thereby making it inaccessible for a number of people.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the first volume of this series, we were pretty wowed by a lot of aspects of it; the world design, the big twist in the plot halfway through it, the complexity of the plot and the really interesting characters, both in design and characterization. This volume continues on with a lot of this while adding some very useful new information, the kind of information that most other series that want to be complex don’t offer until much farther into things.

Things kick off pretty nicely with the arrival of another Mu craft known as the Ritardando. The arrival of this particular craft, one that provides the exact same aria as a previous one, sets off quite a number of emotions. As it turns out, this is the same Mu that killed six million people in Australia some fourteen years before. While Ayato learns all of this, almost taking it as a mix of a history lesson and fascination, he continues to push that he will not pilot for them anymore. His fascination in the event comes from the sheer numbers, as he’s still adjusting from being in a world where he believed there were only twenty-three million people left. The thought of six million dying is fascinating in its ramifications to him.

To Kim however, it’s all about vengeance. We learn that her parents had died back in that attack as they were vacationing in Australia at the time. Her entire existence since then has been about revenge and now it’s as close as it can be and the one person who could deal with it refuses to do so. Her stress gets reflected out in various ways, though the bulk of what we see are flashbacks to her youth and the mental flashbacks of how she dealt with the child she was and the changes she had to make upon learning of her parents death. Kim gets really nicely fleshed out in this volume.

One of the more interesting characters that is introduced in this volume is a reporter named Johji Futagami. Brought in by the command level staff as they’re going to have to deal with revelations coming sooner or later, Futagami is essentially given some amount of free reign of the island and the base to collect materials. A number of staff find this off-putting, but they deal with it as required. Futagami is something of the typical reporter, from the slightly bedraggled look to the stereotypical hat. And in traditional anime style, he knows a lot more than he’s letting on.

His explorations around the island bring him into contact with a lot of people, from annoying Itsuki by taking pictures to dealing with Souichi as the promised “cutie” that would be his guide. But you know he’s up to more than he lets on when he starts investigating Ayato, having known the name from someone way back in the past, someone who would be twenty-nine now as opposed to seventeen. There’s some amusing interplay between him and Megumi’s grandfather as Futagami tries to draw out more information from him about Ayato.

One of the best episodes here deals with this lush tropical island having to deal with snow for the first time in its recorded history. Somewhat out of character, absolutely nobody thinks this is strange or may be Mu related, but rather just enjoys it, thinking it something of a Christmas present as that is only a day away. This time spent admiring and playing in the snow provides some good time to learn about the characters more. Through conversations with Meg and Kim, we get to see a really significant act happen between Haruka and Ayato without having to have Haruka go through a flashback sequence to explain it.

There’s a lot of subplots that are moving into play and becoming more obvious with this volume, and that’s nicely complementing all the main storylines. This show continues to be the type where you really have to watch everything and can’t miss a frame otherwise a reference may be lost in the future. This volume was quite a lot of fun and felt much more relaxed without having to do all the introductions as well as being past the big plot twist from the earlier episodes.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Printed booklet,Production sketches,Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation,English vocal cast interview: Part 1

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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