Anime DVD Review: RahXephon Complete Collection

RahXephon Complete Collection is an eight-disc set that includes all 26 episodes of RahXephon, as well as the RahXephon: Pluralitas Concentio anime film.

RahXephon Complete Collection
English Publisher: Section23
Format: DVD
Release Date: October 6, 2009

RahXephon focuses on a 17-year-old boy named Ayato Kamina, and he’s an average student who enjoys painting and spending time with his friends. One day, Ayato is caught in the middle of a sudden attack launched on Tokyo. He finds his classmate Reika Mishima singing, and she leads him to a giant egg that contains a mecha called RahXephon. Ayato finds himself piloting the RahXephon and fighting against a weapon of the alien invaders called the Mu.

Haruka, an agent of an organization known as TERRA, brings Ayato and the RahXephon to the organization’s headquarters. Ayato learns that things aren’t as they seemed, and he’s also presented with a lot of conflicting information. Ayato, along with the audience, tries to figure out what may or may not be the truth.

When I first started watching RahXephon, I was seeing some similarities with Neon Genesis Evangelion. However, as the series progressed, the show developed into its own, and the similarities between the two series aren’t as evident. Unfortunately, some of the “big reveals” in the series ended up being rather obvious. But I’m not sure if this is due to the fact that these plot points weren’t written as well as they could have, or if I was simply recognizing tropes from similar series (such as Neon Genesis Evangelion). I was also a little thrown off and confused by the ending. Even saying all of this, I thought that overall, RahXephon is a decent anime series.

The film, RahXephon: Pluralitas Concentio, opens with the main character, Ayato Kamina, as a middle school student. He and his classmate, Haruka Mishima, have a budding romantic relationship. However, while Haruka is away from Tokyo, a race called the Mu makes an appearance, and envelops Tokyo into a giant hemisphere called the Absolute Barrier. This event separates Ayato and Haruka, because the barrier prevents people from entering or leaving Tokyo.

Three years pass in the Absolute Barrier, and Ayato is now a high school student. He and his classmates have been taught that the world outside has been obliterated. One day, invaders from the outside attack, and Ayato is caught in the middle of it. During the confusion, a woman named Haruka Shitow approaches Ayato. She is on a mission to take Ayato outside the barrier and to teach him the truth.

As Haruka is trying to leave the barrier with Ayato, he is drawn to an image of a god called RahXephon, and he ends up aboard this mecha. After he defeats one of the Mu super-weapons, Ayato, Haruka, and the RahXephon end up outside of the barrier. The rest of the film focuses on revelations, plot twists, and a major battle near the end of the film.

I watched this film right after I watched the RahXephon television anime series. Because I was able to watch them so close together, I could tell where changes had happened in the story between the anime series and the film. There were some changes made that I thought strengthened the story, but there were other changes that I ultimately felt weakened the story. The worst part of the movie was the decreased role that the character of Quon plays in the story.

Ultimately, I thought that the first act of the film worked really well, and I preferred the ending of the film to the ending of the anime series. However, because some of the side stories and other plot points were removed in the movie, the middle portion of the film felt rather choppy. If you watch this film and aren’t familiar with the story from the anime series, this section of the film could be rather confusing.

Overall, the animation in RahXephon: Pluralitas Concentio looks nice. The footage that is also from the anime series looks very good. However, the footage created specifically for the film doesn’t look quite as good.

I would only recommend RahXephon: Pluralitas Concentio to anime viewers who already have familiarity with the RahXephon anime series. I say this primarily due to the jumpy and confusing nature of the middle portion of the film.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, there are several bonus features spread out through the discs. A “clean” version of the RahXephon opening and ending appear on the first seven discs. There is a slideshow of production sketches that appears on the first seven discs. Each disc has a different slideshow, and all of the slideshows use versions of the opening song in the background. Previews for various properties that ADV was promoting at the time this set was released appear on all eight discs in the set.

The first disc includes a special Japanese promo trailer. This promo lasts for two-and-a-half minutes, and it has Japanese audio with English subtitles. I suspect this promo was used to promote RahXephon before it aired on Japanese television.

The second disc includes an interview with the English cast. This feature runs for almost 14 minutes, and includes the voice actors for Quon, Haruka, and Ayato. The interview is done with a question appearing on the screen, followed by the voice actors’ responses to the question. This was an OK interview, although I thought the voice actor for Quon spent a little too much time complaining about how little screen time her character was getting early on in the series.

The third disc includes an early production promo. This runs for two-and-a-half minutes, and it combines production sketches with some animated footage. My guess is that this piece was produced in order to get some very early promotion going for the RahXephon anime series.

Disc four includes another interview with the English cast. This interview is done in the same style as the one on the second disc, but it runs for 42 minutes. Personally, I thought this runtime was a little excessive for this type of interview feature.

Disc five includes two additional bonus features. The first is an interview with Hiroki Kanno, a character designer for RahXephon. This feature runs for nine-and-a-half minutes, with Japanese audio and English subtitles. A question appears on the screen, and is followed by Kanno’s response. The second feature is a roughly one minute slideshow of the original Japanese cover artwork.

The sixth disc includes another interview with the English cast, which is done in the same manner as the previous two English cast interviews that appeared in this set. This feature runs for 44 minutes. Like the English cast interview on the fourth disc, I thought that the length for this one was also excessive.

The seventh disc includes two additional bonus features. First is a 20-minute interview with the Japanese staff and cast, which has Japanese audio with English subtitles. The second is a music video for “Fate of Katun.” The footage focuses on Ayato and Haruka. However, a decision was made to leave the audio from the dialogue in the video, which I thought distracted from the music. The song itself has a promising start, but it quickly becomes boring and repetitive.

If you’re a fan of the RahXephon anime series, the RahXephon Complete Collection DVD box set is worth adding to your anime library. Even with its faults, it’s still one of the best ways to acquire all 26 episodes of the series and the RahXephon anime film.

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