It’s the year 2012, and the entire world, except Tokyo, has been destroyed… or that was what Kamina Ayato was taught at school. When Tokyo is attacked, Ayato finds himself escaping the city in a secret weapon: RahXephon. What he learns away from his city is that everything he knew was a lie; the rest of the world is not only populated, but also at war with Tokyo. Now, Ayato, along with RahXephon, is a pivotal part of a war he didn’t know about, and a nightmare he doesn’t want to take part in.
summary by Griveton
Highs: Visuals; story; deep characters; music
Lows: Some mecha designs could be improved
RahXephon quickly got a reputation as a Neon Genesis Evangelion clone/rip-off. It was under this light that I watched this series, ready to be disappointed. Although there are indeed similarities, I’m happy to say such reputation is largely unfounded.RahXephon is an original series, and an excellent one at that.
Studio Bones proved it can create wonderful visuals with Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, and RahXephon isn’t a letdown: This is an undeniably beautiful series. Although several mecha designs could be improved and a few character designs are uninspired, the animation and design are great. Complementing this is the music: the soundtrack is an excellent combination of pieces ranging from instrumentals to hard rock to soft ballads and always complements the scenes superbly.
Of course, all that style is not enough to make a series go for a whole season: story and characters are needed, and RahXephon delivers them in spades. The story keeps you on the edge of your seat with a constant dose of revelations and plot twists. Adding to this are the great climax and conclusion. The characters don’t fall behind the story in terms of quality as they’re all so interesting and deep that it’s hard not to care for them. Some of them do have similarities to the characters in Evangelion at first, but in the end their development is unique.
This so-called rip-off of Evangelion manages not only to set itself apart from Gainax‘s classic, but to surpass it with ease.
Highs: Profound story; exceptional seiyuu cast
Lows: Trippy ending dampens the series; lackluster music
With a name like Bones, it has to be good, right? They have had some failures in the past (A Girl in Gaea comes to mind), and while RahXephon delivers for the most part, it falls short and prevents itself from being anything beyond above average.
RahXephon does come across as being a Neon Genesis Evangelion clone, and although this statement is true along some lines, it still manages to buck the trend by putting together an incredibly deep plot. OK, so the organization-who-uses-mecha-to-battle-invaders-from-beyond-our-world plot has been used time and time again, but this series takes a few steps beyond that simple shell when it delves into subjects such as reality and racism. With Ayato’s world and truth questioned a lot and the topic of the difference between what makes a Murian and a human, this anime asks more than its fair share of questions relating to everyday life. The plot is definitely a nice change of pace, and the same can also be said for the seiyuu cast. Many newer anime do not have seiyuu that further define their characters with their acting; this cast is definitely the exception as they make their counterparts with outstanding voice acting.
What strains the story and prevents it from being solid is the ending. For the majority of the anime, we are presented with a complex plot that still makes a lot of sense; as the last quarter opens up, it begins to take a dive. Multiple plot twists are thrown into the story, and where the plot was once merely complex, it quickly becomes indecipherable as everything begins to pile on top of everything else. The actual ending had me scratching my head and wondering just what had occurred. And while it does not hurt the series as much, the soundtrack is, for lack of a better word, bland… with exception of the opening, Hemisphere. They do not really give the extra flavoring as nothing on the soundtrack stand outs and says “I am the music for RahXephon“. Had I been given the second or third OST after watching the series, I would not be able to clearly identify it without looking at the cover.
So Bones can put together most of a series, but botching the end harmed RahXephon far more than it deserved. The rest makes it hard to not recommend, however.
RahXephon can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.