Rahxephon Vol. #7 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • 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

Rahxephon Vol. #7

By Paul Jacques     February 09, 2005
Release Date: August 16, 2004


Rahxephon Vol. #7
© ADV Films UK


What They Say
At long last, the war with the Mu reaches its climax. The truths that have been hidden are finally revealed. As Ayato stands on the brink of making the ultimate choice, the future of not just one man and one woman, but of two sentient races, hangs in the balance. The symphony of light and terror, of treachery and love, at last completes itself in the final astounding volume of RahXephon.

The Review!
The end of a series is always a bitter-sweet affair, so let us see where the empathise will lie in this final volume.

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 very 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 just the one graphic- RahXephon. The disc itself is printed with the same cover image.

The insert booklet is very good, it’s about 14 pages long and full of art work, character bios (plus mega spoilers) and interviews. Under no circumstances look at the back pages until after you have watched the episodes.

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

Extras:
And in the box today we get; the clean open\ close; a love song music video made up of clips from Ayato and Haruka’s encounters (aw, sweet); the (~30) Production sketches are good (as usual) and we get Hemisphere played again (yay!). The ~20 minutes ADV interview with the Japanese cast & crew is a must watch.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Episode 24 starts in the aftermath of Mr Kunugi sacrifice. Quite a few of the characters are reflecting on their bitter regrets, and this allows us an opportunity to make some more blood (relatives) connections between Human and Mu characters. Quon appears to be related, as an elder sister, to Ayato’s mother. Ayato’s mother also appears to be the daughter of Haruka and Megumi Uncle.

Anyway, TERRA, with the aid of Professor Brabem begin to assemble their last line of defence against the MU- the Schwarzer vermilions. Meanwhile onboard the flag ship Haruka and Ayato FINALLY get around to telling each other how they feel…… and about time (sniff, sniff). Then Ayato boards the RahXephon for the final showdown against the vastly superior Mulian forces. But he is no longer a mere human, but RahXephon reborn in a different form- a combination of RahXephon, Ayato and his true heart (Mishima). Somewhat to our surprise the Mu, and especially Quon, are positively thrilled about the appearance of this new RahXephon!

The final two episodes shows us what a truly terrible weapon of mass destruction the RahXephon is. Ayato is unable to stop the devastation wrought by his presence, as his tremendous power is being controlled by Quon, and Quon is now 100% Mulian carrying out the Mulian plan. So rather than being mankind’s salvation Ayato becomes it’s downfall and humans and friends alike are expunged from the story.

In these last episodes we get a very good demonstration in how love can get you killed. Suffice as to say that plenty of the characters we’ve grown to love or hate get handed the red card and are carried from the field of play in a body bag. Leaving behind only two main players- a confused Ayato and a very talkative, not to mention manipulative, Quon. And then, finally, we begin to understand who created RahXephon and why. And to be honest, that reason seemed a little small (to me).

After the destruction is over, and TERRA has been effectively wiped out, Ayato comes back to say his final goodbye to Haruka (you may need a tissue for these scenes as well). Then Ayato and Quon join together to sing the song that will “tune” the world. Of course tuning the world is a Mu concept for their benefit, not mankind’s!

Forgiveness, reconciliation and harmony are the watch words in closing minutes, and finally Ayato remembers what he had lost in his past, and so he decides how things should be in an alternate timeline. BTW, you need to watch to the end of the credits on the last episode, I won’t say why, just trust me and do it ;-)

In summary-
Hmm, summing-up is a tough one: With the finale under your belt you can’t help but draw parallels to Neon Genesis Evangelion. Both use the Bio-Mecha tool of God approach as the vehicle to carry the plot along to an ascension of Man type conclusion. Unlike NGE, RahXephon does not get bogged down in superfluous Biblical mythos and reference. Ayato is put in much the same situation that Shinji was in NGE D&R, and in the end they both make a decision from the heart that changes past, present and future. Aye, and there’s the rub, because it creates an ending that seems to negate the previous 25 episodes. Not to mention that not all the questions get an answer, although maybe the RahXephon movie will take care of that?

RahXephon is beautiful to watch, with a clever (a bit too clever at times) love story, suffused in music with an interlace of human emotion. At times you’ll have sweaty armpits from the excitement, or find yourself hugging a plushie for comfort, or scratching your head in confusion. This anime expects you to run along side in order to keep up, there ain’t no free ride in the later half of this series. I’d bumped it up to A- if they had explained the Mu, but then maybe they are saving that revelation for a later OVA.

If you like your anime with a bit of thought behind it, then this is for you. Anyone who just likes to watch big Mecha action will be disappointed by the “mushy bits” and temporal distortion headache. For me, the music will linger long in my memory.

Features
Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 5.1,English Subtitles,Printed booklet ,Production sketches ,Clean opening close animation,Interview with Japanese Cast,Music video

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.

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