Movie: RahXephon is the name of a large robot piloted by a young man in search of his identity. In the first DVD, he was thrust into a position of piloting the robot by circumstance and found out everything he "knew" was a lie. Learning that his own mother might well be an alien set on destroying Earth and that things weren't always what they appeared to be, he makes choices that may or may not come back to haunt him. In this second DVD, the action heats up and Ayato's character begins to really grow. Here's what the boxcover said: "As the Mu launch a succession of attacks against the free world, TERRA is forced to use their secret weapon, the RahXephon, despite the reluctance of its pilot. Lost in time and trapped in a world he thought had been destroyed, Ayato must confront both a new wave of Dolem and his suspicions that he is only a pawn in a much larger game. The mysterious advances of the girl known as Quon and the reappearance of a supposedly dead friend are only a few of the many mysteries that must be unraveled in the second collection of RahXephon." Here's a brief description of each episode but be warned that they contain spoilers:
6) Obliterated Cities: Lost Songs Forgotten Melodies: One of the enemy robots, called Dolem's, that used to attack Earth years ago, renews it's attacks in Australia. One of the Terra (Earth Forces) team is found to have a personal stake in this one as it was responsible for killing her parents. She stumbles onto a pattern of attack which allows her to predict it's next target. Having a solid chance of defeating the Dolem, the RahXephon is dispatched to fight it-barely winning with some help from his new associates.
7) Day Of Assembly: Phantom In The Cloud: The two main focuses of this episode are a reporter that digs into the background of Ayato and a battle with a large Dolem. The reporter seems like a stupid and harmless guy but it soon becomes apparent that he's a lot sharper and insightful than thought. The Dolem attack was by an aircraft carrier style robot that released a whole bunch of smaller robots (Dotems) and the entire team fought it. Ayato continues to discover the combat capabilities of the RahXephon, including some shielding.
8) Bitterly Cold Holy Night: The Dreaming Stone: As the RahXephon heals from the last mission (it sustained some damage), the remains of the Dolem are inspected. One of the scientists finds a crystal and stupidly gives it to one of the gals. The weather started getting far colder than usual, even snowing, which simply doesn't happen in the tropical island where they're stationed. The gal with the crystal, Sayoko, is enveloped in a Dolem that grows out of the stone and Ayato must find a way to defeat the robot without killing her. The reporter continued to observe and dig into the mysteries he suspected where taking place.
9) Small Shrine Of Time: Sanctuary: After a small beach party that established the girls as competitors for Ayato (sort of), Ayato and Quon find a small shrine in the woods that has some markings of apparent significance. The shrine turns out to be a gateway of sort to the Mu base on Tokyo Jupiter with the same time distortion effect that base has. Lots of subplots here as there was no robot fight and many of the details will probably pop up later (so pay attention).
Picture: The picture was presented in full frame 1.33:1 ratio and looked great. I noticed no problems and even the dvd transfer looked great.
Sound: The audio tracks were either in English 5.1 Dolby Stereo or the original Japanese soundtrack with English subtitles in 2.0 stereo. Both sounded very crisp and clear.
Extras: A clean opening and closing (no credits on them), some trailers and production sketches, and about 14 minutes of interviews with three of the English language vocal cast. Lastly, there was a paper insert in the DVD case that was in full color, had great translation notes and sketches of some of the characters and Dolems and even some interviews with several of the original Japanese creators.
Final Thoughts: The series continues to impress me with it's high quality and complexity. As it progressed, I noticed a depth that most anime seems to lack-you'll find yourself going back to earlier episodes in order to pick up clues as to what has happened/will happen since the series was obviously well planned out. All too often, anime series don't take a long view of the season and this detracts from the continuity. Luckily, RahXephon avoids all those problems and presented a solid package here. In short, I Highly Recommend RahXephon as a great series!