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.
As the series progresses, the alien attacks get more and more powerful,
using better weapons but they also use more subterfuge in order to capture
the RahXephon and it's pilot. The stakes get raised once more as Ayato, the only one who can pilot the RahXephon due to his mixed heritage, starts to feel left out by his fellow crewmembers. Here's a brief breakdown of the four episodes on RahXephon 4: Dissonance:
13) Human Specimen 1/ Sleeping Beauty:
Quon and Ayato, both feeling the effects of a new and powerful Dolem that attempts to brainwash both of them into returning to the Mu base on Jupiter, have a variety of flashbacks, revealing hidden truths about them. The RahXephon uses a new weapon, in the form of an energy bow & arrow, strikes down the Dolem while the reporter digs ever deeper into the various secrets going on at the base. Quon's history is becoming less secret and what it means will be revealed soon.
14) The Boy In The Mirror/Time After Time:
A shake up at the base takes place when the corporate interests use their influence to take charge of Quon. A new Terra weapon, The Vermillion, debuts and it's made known that The Foundation granted TERRA it's use. The pilot, Elvy, and her crew make it clear that they no longer want the RahXephon around since they don't trust his heritage and no longer need him.
15) The Children's Night/Child Hood's End:
In a flashback episode, we see Isshiki Makoto, Kisaragi Itsuki, and Helena Bahbem (who's dad owns The Foundation), as children growing up. Their basic personalities established by events transpiring about them, the three undergo a fateful night that ended in tragedy.
16) Another Person's Island/The Moon Princess:
Ayato, no longer mad that he's not wanted by his fellow TERRA associates, but just depressed instead, ponders leaving the service after learning about his heritage. After confronting the director and other leaders of TERRA, he and Quon make a fateful decision.
The show continued to impress me with the writing, the direction, and the production quality on top of the exceptional voice acting. Much like the previous volumes, including Volume 3, the episodes were all good by themselves as well as being part of the larger whole. With four episodes and some great extras, I rate this one as Highly Recommended.
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 although I give the nod to the original Japanese track as being better.
Extras: The best extra was a lengthy set of interviews with the some of the English language voice actors. A clean opening and closing (no credits on them), some trailers, an early production promo from Japan and production sketches. Lastly, there was a paper insert in the DVD case that was in full color, had translation notes and sketches of some of the characters and Dolems as well as some interviews with several of the original Japanese creators.
Final Thoughts: I like this show as much as any other anime I've seen in a long time and this volume was really solid. The great extras, the higher number of episodes and the fact that each episode didn't need to rely on robot attacks as the central theme all combined with the other aspects of the show to make this a winner.