Title: RahXephon: Pluralitas Concentio aka RahXephon: Tagen Hensoukyoku aka RahXephon: The Motion Picture
Format: Movie, 116 minutes.
Date: 19 Apr 2003
Synopsis: On a snowy night, high school lovebirds Kamina Ayato and Mishima Haruka make a promise to meet again when Haruka returns on the third. However, Earth is under attack by a multi-dimensional race known as the Mu on that night and, towards the end of the invasion, Tokyo is being sealed in a spherical barrier which later becomes known as Tokyo Jupiter. For the next 16 years, Ayato continues to live in Tokyo Jupiter until one fateful day, Ayato meets a mysterious lady who tells him about the world outside the barrier, and he realizes the existence of a powerful being known as RahXephon.
Animation: More polished and fluid than the TV series.
Pacing: The chief factor that diminishes the storyline; hasty transitions and lack of cohesion.
Characters: Focus on Ayato and Haruka is at the expense of other characters.
Overall impression: Simply a brief summary of RahXephon, albeit an interesting central theme.
Movies like TTGL: Gurren-hen, Lagann-hen and Evangelion 1.0 seem to share similar traits: they have above-average predecessor series, but they encounter the familiar pitfall of rehashing material, perhaps in an attempt to replicate the same success in a different format. RahXephon: Pluralitas Concentio chooses the same path by reusing the same events as RahXephon, tightly packing them all into one movie. This often calls for heavy editing because of time constraints and, unless such movies go beyond the conventional 2-hour duration and do something like The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya(1,2), they can suffer from rushed pacing and incoherent storytelling. Not surprisingly, RahXephon: Pluralitas Concentio is no exception since it has the same problems as other movie rehashes.
The movie starts off on the right foot by coherently laying out the foundations for central figures Kamina Ayato and Mishima Haruka. Its focus on the two characters’ relationship is contrary to the predecessor’s approach of focusing more towards Ayato’s character development. Although this may be a debatable approach among those who like the series’ narrative, it’s a breath of fresh air to see how their relationship has a more active role in propelling the plot forward. Shifting away from the series’ more science fiction-centric motif, the movie revolves more around how their love can stand against time-dilating realms, an interesting theme which the story builds upon. Furthermore, the polished and fluid animation has risen by a notch from the series, which is always a plus for any film.
Unfortunately, two prominent factors drag the movie down, both stemming from time limitation. One is the overall pacing of the storyline. The predecessor series took time to build up to momentous events, but in this movie, it rushes from one event to another, and this includes climatic revelations such as the true identities of Ayato and his close friends. Moreover, the transition from one scene to another is so hurried that the events are difficult to follow, the haphazard storytelling rendering the narrative disconnected. The other factor is that the focal relationship between Ayato and Haruka leads to the omission of several major characters and roles. The story could have been more engrossing if Kim Hotal’s character had not been neglected, and had Elvy and Quon not been reduced to cameos.
RahXephon: Pluralitas Concentio boldly reinvents the theme but it is heavily compromised by choppy writing, incoherent plot development and overshadowed supporting characters. The story and the characters are perhaps the two most essential components of any story, so for both to have serious flaws, there’s only so much a different theme can do for the movie. Putting aside the motif, it is nothing more than a brief summary of the series without the necessary buildup. Although it has a well-done ending, it does not hide the fact that the movie has several issues that made it inferior to RahXephon. It is quite a waste to see a movie that has an interesting idea at hand, yet it does not do enough as a whole to create a masterpiece.
The Rating: 6
Reviewed by: AC