Anime Spotlight: RahXephon

RahXephon is a mecha anime series that was created by Yutaka Izubuchi and the Bones animation studio. The series aired on Japanese television from January 21-September 11, 2002. A television movie, RahXephon: Pluralitas Concentio, was directed by Tomoki Kyoda and aired on Japanese television.

ADV held the North American distribution license for RahXephon; as of this writing, the rights appear to be held Aesir Holdings.

The main character of RahXephon is Ayato Kamina, a 17-year-old boy living in Tokyo. He’s just an average student who enjoys painting and spending time with his two friends, Hiroko and Mamoru. His mother is a scientist, who tends to work long hours and is hardly home.

One day, Ayato is caught in the middle of a sudden attack launched on Tokyo. During the fighting, Ayato hears his classmate Reika Mishima singing. Reika leads Ayato to a giant egg that contains the RahXephon. Ayato finds himself piloting the RahXephon and fighting against a Dolem (a mecha used by invaders known as Mu).

Haruka, an agent of the defense research agency TERRA, brings Ayato and the RahXephon to their headquarters. Ayato moves in with Professor Rikudoh. Ayato is presented with a lot of conflicting information, and both he and the audience are trying to figure out what may be the truth and what may be false.

Music also plays a very important role in RahXephon. The Dolems attack while singing, and sometimes the Dolem’s attack is the song itself. The RahXephon can also attack when its pilot (who is referred to as an instrumentalist) sings a note. The Dolems have Italian names that refer to musical notations.

Izubuchi has claimed that RahXephon was his attempt to bring back aspects of 1970s mecha shows such as Brave Raideen. As I’ve watched RahXephon, I have definitely seen elements that appear to have been influenced by Neon Genesis Evangelion rather than by 1970s mecha shows. The main protagonist of both series is a male mecha pilot who seems to have personal issues, both protagonists are being used by their parents as mecha pilots (Shinji Ikari is used by his father, and Ayato Kamina is used by his mother), and both series utilize mysteries and deceit by those in authority.

Even with the similarities that I’ve noticed between RahXephon and Neon Genesis Evangelion, I believe that RahXephon has a compelling story to tell. This is definitely a series worth seeing if you like mecha anime or if you enjoy anime series like Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Animation-wise, I think that RahXephon is very well done, especially for a series that was produced and released in the early 2000s. The quality of the animation is extremely evident in the shots of the various mecha. The character designs are also top-notch.

If you enjoy mecha anime series, then I think you might enjoy RahXephon. However, I would recommend watching the television anime series over the movie, because I thought the movie felt a bit choppy.

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