The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

RahXephon

Title: RahXephon
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: BONES
Format: 26 Episodes
Dates: 21 Jan 2002 – 10 Sep 2002

Synopsis: In 2012 a strange invader known as Murians appeared above Tokyo. Following the catastrophe that lay mankind’s forces in ruins, the beings disappeared and the city was engulfed by an absolute barrier known as “Tokyo Jupiter.” Yet the alleged last haven of mankind changes for Kamina Ayato when he stumbles into the sanctuary of RahXephon, a god-like mecha that leads him to the outside world.

The Highlights
Beginning: Slow.
Ending: Emotionally powerful and satisfying.
Story: Unique and suspenseful.
Music: Beautiful variety, appropriately complimented with animation.
Mecha Designs: Hit-and-Miss.

From the first few episodes RahXephon seems like a Neon Genesis Evangelion rip-off, and a dull one at that. Thankfully I made it through the introduction and was rewarded for my patience. The company BONES itself has quite a history. Founded by former Sunrise staff members in 1998, the animation company has had a number of failures and successes (Wolf’s Rain and Fullmetal Alchemist to name a few). RahXephon falls in the later category.

Izubichi Yutaka (director) defines the title as “God of the Unknown Instrument.” This non-literal translation reflects the essence of RahXephon in that music is a continual motif. The translation also refects the prophecy that RahXephon will “tune the world.” Kamina Ayato, as the sole pilot of RahXephon, is the destined Performer that will lead the world into the next age.

The people at BONES really did their homework on this one. A large segment of background setup is based on the writings of Colonel James Churchward, author of The Lost Civilization of Mu. References of culture and technological superiority in his works have drawn many similarities to Atlantis, yet the historical accuracy of his claims are disputed. The story also has marks of Mayan culture with reference to the year 2012, which by the Mayan Caldendar is the end of existence. These superfluous facts and myths add flavorful elements into the setting.

A blend of unique, powerful characters comes to life with such voice talents as Kuwashima Houko. The individual backgrounds and emotions of these characters are slowly drawn together, eventually leading to the unraveling of the threads of love and mystery. Development of these deep characters and how the plot devices are set will keep you intrigued and begging to know what happens next.

Overall animation and music are beautifully done. Kanno Yoko and Hashimoto Ichiko use their skills to compose wonderful melodies that are synchronized perfectly with the scenes and animation. The opening song “Hemisphere” is especially breath taking. Keep in mind music plays a vital role in how the story and characters interact, so for all of these to play so beautifully well together is no easy feat. The overall animation was done well – but then there are the mecha designs. RahXephon and a handful of the main enemies are original and colorful, yet the rest look like random shapes with fangs attached.

At a glance the series may seem rough around the edges, but allow yourself to see it through. The series is a well executed drama filled with aesthetic beauty, powerful symbolism, and intriguing romance that will not fail to keep your attention.

The Rating: 9
9/10

Reviewed by: Godai

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