Reviews of RahXephon (2002) and related work

RahXephon (2002Moving picture, 11 hours)

A boy in Tokyo, the last city on Earth, follows a mysterious girl to make a chain of startling discoveries, starting with a giant robot and the fact that his mother is inhuman.

SF drama with mecha action. It took me about a year to watch this, and I am not comfortable rating it as a result. The story becomes interesting despite its incoherent presentation, mainly because certain characters meet around episode 5. From there the scripting proceeds in skips and starts, often falling back on tropes like an insane commander and teenagers somehow working for a successor to the UN. The poetry is bad and the musical (Mu-sical?) schema glaringly artificial: the main rewards are visual. Director Izubuchi Yutaka normally works as a designer, and he puts in some excellent work here, with some pre-Columbian American inspiration.

RahXephon is a serious attempt to outdo Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995). It succeeds in one small part: it’s more smoothly composed, being written ahead of time. Relatedly, it’s dry. Izubuchi is less daring and creative than Anno, and intentionally less funny. The only memorable comedic moments are in a special episode describing the distant past. Next to NGE, RahXephon has a stronger focus on cute girls and alien visuals. The protagonist is more of an idealized everyman than Shinji, yet the romantic situations are less plausible than Eva’s, resulting in a chilly melodrama as opposed to Eva’s heady Sturm und Drang.

References here: SSSS Gridman (2018).

moving picture animation Japanese production mecha fiction series

RahXephon: Pluralitas Concentio (2003Moving picture, 120 minutes)

This functioned decently as a highlight reel some 7 years after I saw the original. The slightly amateurish direction is exaggerated by the heavy cuts.

moving picture remake animation Japanese production fiction