Rahxephon is an entry in the super robot genre of mecha anime focused on teenager Ayato Kamina coming to realize his seemingly ordinary life is a complete fabrication when he is caught in the middle of a conflict between the blue-blooded Mulian race and a military organization known as TERRA fighting to oppose their attempts to take over the world. Becoming the chosen pilot of the mecha Rahxephon, Ayato fights to protect humanity against the Mulian threat while trying to make sense of what is real to him and who he can trust in a crisis where he feels like a pawn to both sides fighting in the conflict.
Before I get going on the review, I should address one infamous bit of contention that older mecha anime fans usually go off about and that is accusing Rahxephon of being an Evangelion ripoff. While there are a number of scenes in Rahxephon similar to being depicted in Eva, said similarities are mostly superficial as there is a difference in moods and themes depicted between both titles. Eva milks Kaballah and Judeo-Christian imagery while dabbling into psychological insight with the problems facing its major characters and relishing in the dysfunction and despair faced by them. On the other hand, Rahxephon dabbles into music and Mayan lore for its plot elements and has themes more focused around revelation and transcendence. In spite of some similarities, both titles are completely different beasts for mecha anime and it is not that uncommon for mecha anime to utilize character and plot cliches found from past titles of the genre.
Setting aside that sordid matter, Rahxephon is primarily focused on Ayato's character as he tries making sense of what is a truth and a lie with his life as he tries determining who among the Mulians and TERRA he should trust. The series drops hints of many of the characters that he interact with having past connections to him or having ulterior motives for needing him. Understandably, Ayato does find himself quite angry and frustrated at points as he tries making sense of his predicament and coming to his own answers with what he should do in his situation. His quest to uncover what is real to him leads him to clash with both factions throughout the series as he tries to understand what he should believe in and learning who he can legitimately trust.
Besides Ayato, Rahxephon offers up a good deal of exploration of its futuristic world and characters. The series has a large cast of characters among both humanity and the Mulians who get fleshing out to understand their motives for engaging in battle with one another and what they seek from our male lead, notably Haruka Shitow who is shown to have strong emotions for our male lead and several factions attempting to manipulate events to benefit their goals. In addition, the series explores a good deal of the phenomena and technologies utilized among the characters, most notably the Tokyo Jupiter phenomena that the Mulians are isolated in and the mysterious Reika Mishima sharing some sort of bond to the Rahxephon. The series slowly unveils more to its characters and world as it progresses and helps add more to the complex mystery it offers up with what purpose Ayato has to both TERRA and the Mulians and builds up to an epic-filled ending that neatly wraps up many of its lingering plot developments.
Praises aside, Rahxephon does still run into its occasional bumps in quality. The first few episodes are a bit slow in their buildup as Ayato learns about his predicament while still inside Tokyo Jupiter, which may turn off first-time viewers of the series. Also, the series is still prone to some of the common flaws of many mecha anime titles as the first half of it squanders episodes on “monster of the week” plots with the Dolems deployed by the Mulians and the Rahxephon mecha not being too seriously challenged by many threats that it confronts, killing any sense of conflict and suspense out of any fight scenes that the mecha gets involved in.
For its time, Rahxephon was a gorgeous series to look at as it sported beautiful scenic shots, vivid color and a rich amount of detail put into characters, mecha and scenery. Animation for the series was above average in quality for its time as the series sported a number of elaborate animated sequences involving the various mecha fights and some visual effects milked at a number of points to show off the bafflement and confusion that Ayato undergoes when encountering a Dolem or the mysterious Reika Mishima.
On the musical end, Rahxephon sports a strong soundtrack offered through both Yoko Kanno's composition and Ichiko Matsumoto's vocal performances. With a mix of intense and hauntingly powerful musical tracks, the soundtrack is very fitting for the complicated and dramatic plot that the series offers up.
Overall, Rahxephon is a mostly well-executed mecha title that dabbles into existential drama and romance in its focus on Ayato's struggles. In spite of a few hiccups, the series offers a unique storytelling experience and strong presentation that will leave you hooked on it from start to finish.
Someday I’ll be gone To somewhere that we belong And God has never played his role 'Cause I’m the one who saves my soul It’s a perfect world we’re longing for
Like Lain, I got exposed to this show on Tech TV during middle school. The themes it explored kind of went over my young mind. I didn't finish the show, but the music especially the opening song is memorable. Great to hear it's full of gorgeous stuff to look forward to.
I actually didn't see this show similar to Neon Genesis Evangelion until reading this review. Though, it's pretty common for shows especially Shonen to recycle stuff. Both are pretty good shows in their regards and for different audience. Kind of uncommon trait nowadays.
Oh, the flaws are Monster of the Week and animation quality. I'm used to that since it's pretty common.
Taka: I see. A global release will benefit it. Gundam did pretty good. The only few franchises that are only popular in Japan but not popular in the west - Yokai Watch comes to mind.
Apr 10, 2021 1:55:16 GMT
Master Menos: F for Respects. DMX did all his work while suffering from a drug addiction, and I almost never knew until a point. I hope his next life treats him far better.
Apr 10, 2021 15:30:45 GMT
HungryWorld: Sorry for taking so long for the things i have to do, have been suffering from some health issues (including mental health deterioration). Anyways hope i can be a bit more active here soon enough once i am properly patched up again.
Apr 27, 2021 17:45:38 GMT
Taka: No worries, health, family, school, and work take priorities first.
Apr 28, 2021 7:41:52 GMT