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. I didn't receive a copy of volume 5 so following the events in this one is a bit tough to follow (a lot obviously took place in the scant three episodes of that volume)
but here's my best shot at providing a brief breakdown of the four episodes on RahXephon 6: Aria:
20) The Artisan's Battle/Interested Parties:
Ayato is back from Jupiter and brought a friend. Quon is nowhere to be seen and the base is now under the command of the vile Isshiki Makoto. He is planning some sort of major assault on Jupiter to end the threat. That he despises Ayato is apparent and he'd rather the young pilot be executed than have him under his command but the Rahxephon is still a powerful tool that can be exploited so he allows the kid to hang around. In an attack, the base's defenses are losing until Ayato figures a way to save the day. Will it matter with the new commander against him?
21) The Carved Seal Of Xephon/Good Bye My Friend:
The plan to destroy Tokyo-Jupiter is laid out for everyone. Mamoru's true colors start to show themselves and it becomes apparent that the plan to attack the Mu has a lot of undisclosed risks.
22) Mission: Jupiter Obliteration/Down Fall:
The commander moves the plan's timetable up and disregards orders. Quon's abilities are utilized by the foundation and the attack plan goes astray. Ayato's place in the bigger picture begins to be unveiled as well. As the world faces almost certain doom, the commander is removed from power but the damage is already done.
23) From Here To Eternity/Where The Sweet Bird Song:
With Mulian cities appearing all over the Earth, the Major is put back in command. An old foe of Earth, Kuki Masayoshi, who was a traitor formerly employed with the Defense Force of Earth but now appears to be the Mu Commander, controls a huge Dolem and gives an ultimatum-turn over the Rahxephon and surrender or die. With the world in a seemingly endless spiral towards destruction, will Ayato be able to stop the threat or is all lost?
As in Volume 4, the overall package here was great and well worth a rating of Highly Recommended. From the technical matters to the creative aspects, this was far better than a handful of critics suggested awhile back. The story has enough layers to allow for many repeat viewings and is more than just eye (and ear) candy too. If you have any interest in anime, particularly science fiction with the giant robot angle theme, you'll have to get this one.
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. Over the course of the series, I've been a fan of the technical qualities of this show since its beginning and wish all series were as well made.
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 the final 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 can't think of a single thing here that doesn't make me think of quality. There was a good set of extras, a great set of four episodes (thankfully the folks at ADV didn't skimp on episodes as they're sometimes known to do), and lots to like. Do yourselves a favor and check it out.