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RahXephon is an anime with a love story surrounded by sci-fi elements and action.
The Motion Picture
Review by Devin Pratt
Anime Motion Picture
Company: ADV Films
Running Time: 120 minutes
Rated: PG-13 (Violence and adult situations)
the not too distant future, a race of alien beings called the Mu
emerge in Tokyo. Originally
thought to be a peaceful bunch, the Mu encased all of the Tokyo area
in a large dome. As
life went on outside of Tokyo Jupiter (the nickname given to the now
domed Tokyo), time inside began to slow, and people were led to
believe that the world around them had been destroyed.
Enter Ayato Kamina, an 18-year-old boy living in Tokyo with his mother. After losing a dear friend of his three years ago during the
Mulian attack, he’s lived a normal life with his friends.
However, lately he’s had strange dreams about his friend,
and these dreams give him hope that maybe she’s still alive.
One day, there
is an attack on Tokyo, and in the ensuing fight Ayato meets a
mysterious woman named Haruka Shitow.
It is through her that Ayato will learn the truth about his
world, himself and his friend.
DVD VISION TEST
In a word, gorgeous.
Originally released in 2003, the film has no imperfections at all
and colors are very vibrant and beautiful.
AUDIO: The disc has both Japanese and English 5.1 surround sound, and each track is impressive with barely and problems at all. It should be noted, however, that many first-print copies of this DVD have a severe audio problem with the Japanese language track. For the first half of the film, dialogue only comes out of one channel. If you happen to get stuck with a bad copy, just contact ADV and they should be able to send you a replacement. For the record, this review is of a replacement disc.
EDITS: The Japanese credit text is replaced with
English text in both the beginning and ending credit sequences.
Other than that, this is edit-free.
EXTRAS: A 10-page color booklet is
included with the movie, and goes over the RahXephon series and includes
interviews with some of the staff.
Sadly, the disc itself only has ADV trailers for extras.
Also noteworthy is the Limited Edition of the film which includes
a sturdy, beautiful box that can hold the entire TV series and film, and
a 54-page color booklet filled with production sketches, interviews with
the crew and writers and some really, really nice looking artwork.
A more compact version of the 26
episode TV series, this is an anime with a love story surrounded by
sci-fi elements and action. Created
by Yutaka Izubuchi, a man mostly credited with mecha design work,
the story is very gripping and at times very powerful and is
impressive for a first-time writer.
Pair the excellent story with the mechanical designs of
Yoshinori Sayama (whose credits include mecha designs for Patlabor,
Tekkaman Blade and Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack) and
animation produced by BONES (Wolf’s Rain, Fullmetal Alchemist),
you have one fine looking anime.
ACTING: The original
Japanese cast is fantastic. Hiro
Shimono, a relative newcomer to voice acting, does a superb as
Ayato. Aya Hisakawa, as mentioned earlier, does the voice of Haruka
and she too is excellent here.
While I thought the English cast sounded great throughout the
TV series, I’m not so sure about them with this outing.
Only a few people really sound the part for their characters;
a good example is Jay Hickman playing Itsuki.
He really gives a tone that sounds excellent for his
character. In comparison, Chris Patton’s Ayato sounds rather flat and
even a little too old for his age.
FAN SERVICE: There’s a little nod to
Ramune cola and the annoyances of that little marble used to seal it.
There is also what I think is a jab at Aya Mishawaka’s (Haruka’s
voice actress) other, more famous character Ami Mizuno of Sailor Moon.
The scene in particular involves Haruka calling herself a
“champion of justice,” a sort of catch phrase in SM.
I go into my conclusion, I must say that if you have not seen the
RahXephon TV series and planed on seeing this movie first to see
what it‘s like, you’re better off watching the TV series first.
This film is meant to retell the story, in a way.
Many things that were once secrets in series are now out in
the open here, and once you know those secrets the impact of the
show is less greater.
That being said,
I feel this movie just does not capture the feel for the TV show. While it’s understandable that you’ll lose quite a bit
when you try to condense 26 half-hour episodes into a 2 hour film,
what you lose here is great. Character
development (and in some cases, entire characters), story buildup
and just the sheer emotion of the story is lost in some places and
in others it only scratches the surface.
The story of Ayato and Haruka is the main focus, and it comes
off nicely. However,
characters like Quon and especially Megumi really get the shaft
here, making their appearances seem tacked on, in a way.
I was, however, happy to see my favorite part of the story in
here; and it still had the same power over me, leaving me an
emotional wreck (read: I CRIED, OK?).
the film is a combination of footage used in the show with brand new
stuff. Honestly, you
cannot tell the difference; BONES has made quite a feast for the
eyes with this series. There’s
a nice blend of soft, vibrant colors used for the movie; a lot of
blue is used, and I never knew you could get so many shades of it
before seeing this series.
thing that’s always bugged me about the show is it’s constant
comparison with Evangelion. While
the set up of the story is similar (post-apocalyptic world, boy
piloting robot not really knowing what’s going on, etc.), this
show has an almost lighter tone to it. Whereas Eva’s theme was heavy on religion, RahXephon’s is
heavy on music; that alone should tell you what the tone will be
like. If not the theme,
then certainly the designs and color scheme of the mechs.
Put Unit 0:2 and the RahXephon side by side and compare them;
you’ll see a stark contrast between the two.
And in the end, RahXephon left me feeling content, something
I cannot say about Evangelion.
Overall, I recommend this 2 hour flick to people who have seen the show already and to those who just have a desire to only see the movie. If you fall into the latter category, please keep in mind that you’re cheating yourself out of an excellent and moving story that is more well rounded than this. Either way, I feel that RahXephon is an experience that any anime fan should partake in.
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