RahXephon - Orchestration 4: Dissonance Review
The Dolems are back, ready to wreak havoc once more upon the city and yet Ayato still struggles to take hold of his reality, which may well cause problems for the defence team. Between all that is going on with the humans and the Mulian forces Ayato tries to piece together fragments of his shattered world, frustrated by ongoing events and new revelations that unfold before him. The secrets of the Ixtli are about to be unlocked in volume four of RahXephon.
We're now in the middle of the series' run and interest is still sustained despite its slowly unfolding nature. The series has turned into a game of sorts with the viewer constantly second guessing what is going on, the staff does not want to give everything away at once but at this point I feel that I have cottoned on to where it's heading. I may be proved wrong but the approach here would suggest the obvious. This volume presents several key moments that will reveal certain truths behind some of the characters, further shaping events in yet another fine instalment of studio BONES' epic creation.
Like Volume 3 this one is focused on character studies and our opening episode is all about Quon and Haruka and how their separate lives strangely resemble each other in opposite ways. In past episodes we have gotten to know Haruka a little better but until now Quon was still an enigma. Finally we learn a few more truths behind her character and while not everything is laid out before us there is enough to satisfy until the next volume.
The third episode on the disc (episode 15) presents the most interesting character development piece, as it takes us back many years and looks at a significant event in the lives Isshiki Makoto, Kisaragi Itsuki, and Helena Bahbem when they were children. It provides an interesting look at their personalities and how as adults they still reflect the way they once were. Helena has managed to become one of the most disliked characters thus far, due to her ego trips and self awareness at just how much power she yields within her father's organization. In addition to these characters we also get to follow Megumi a little more and take pity in her efforts to win the affection of Yagumo but perhaps the biggest revelation of all is that which besets Ayato as he learns the real truth about who he is and just how similar to Quon he appears to be.
During the episodes here we start to learn more about the Bahbem Foundation and their influence upon TERRA. This is made apparent when we discover they are backers for the organization and in episode 14 have granted TERRA the use of a new weapon. The Vermillion makes its debut and Elvy has been selected as the pilot, much to her approval. The Vermillion turns out to be as much of a destructive force as RahXephon, as Ayato soon discovers which makes him wonder just how valuable he is to TERRA in light of the arrival of its new toy.
As a series RahXephon continues to remain firmly plot driven, and considering the number of large robots on display does well to shy away from too many action based set ups to progress the story, instead it seems there is only fighting when it's ultimately necessary and part of this is what lies in the strength of the series. Don't get me wrong I love robot fighting and what there is here is very enjoyable - episode 14 more than makes up for the lack of action throughout the rest of the volume. Simply put RahXephon follows a road of discovery that still has many paths for each character to take.
Volume 4 contains the following episodes. Some minor spoilers will entail:
Thirteenth Movement: Human Specimen 1 - Sleeping Beauty
A new Dolem by the name of Arpeggio is sending a message that only Ayato and Quon can hear. It is trying to summon them to the Mulian base and in the process Ayato and Quon begin having flashbacks that soon reveal some truths that have been kept well hidden. Meanwhile Futagami is still sniffing around, not willing to spill all the beans on what it is he knows.
Fourteenth Movement: The Boy in the Mirror - Time After Time
Ayato's true heritage is revealed before him in a shocking, accidental discovery. Quon becomes subject to the Bahbem Foundation's interest and a new weapon known as Vermillion makes its first appearance. Elvy and her crew wish to be the sole force behind the offence after learning about Ayato's recent discovery.
Fifteenth Movement: The Children’s Night - Child Hood's End
Isshiki, Kisaragi and Helena are the subjects of a flashback that sees them as children about to face a night that they'll never forget.
Sixteenth Movement: Another Person's Island - The Moon Princess
Megumi receives the promotion that she has been dreaming about but unfortunately isn't in the highest of spirits. Ayato decides that he wants to leave TERRA and mope about after learning a little more about himself. He and Quon become closer and make a decision that will shake up the system. Incidentally this episode is based upon a Japanese tale about Princess Kagoya.
Like previous volumes ADV give us some nice sleeve artwork, this time featuring the Vermillion. Inside the case is another booklet that gives us character and Dolem information as well as translation notes and interviews with Hiroki Kanno (animation character/director of animation), Shingo Takeba (design work/series composition) and actors Toshihiko Seki, Mitsuru Miyamoto and Atsuko Tanaka.
Another quality transfer that looks every bit as good as it does in previous volumes of the series. Episode 15 has a deliberate grainy effect that is used to represent the large portion of flashback scenes, so don't worry about the set up there. This time around I noticed some grammatical errors from the optional subtitles, perhaps only occurring once or twice and certainly not enough to make a big issue about it.
By now you'll know my preference with this series. I have chosen to stick with the Japanese 2.0 track but as always I sample the English 5.1 dub for the review. Both tracks are loud and clear but personal preference brings me to put aside the slightly more spatial 5.1 option.
Clean Opening/Closing credits
Same ol' same ol'. You know what to expect by now.
Interview with English Cast: Part 2
Running for 42 minutes this is a decent interview segment with actors Mandy Clark (Reika Mishima), Jay Hickman (Itsuki Kiasragi), Illich Guardiola (Makoto Isshiki) and Kelly Manison (Sayoko Nanamori). Each actor is asked various questions about their careers, such as how did they become a voice actor and what roles have they enjoyed. It might not offer a great deal of insight into the series itself but it sure does make for a good recruitment advertisement. If anyone at ADV is reading this - I wouldn't mind doing some voice work fellas.
This runs for 4 minutes and much like previous volumes we get a short collection of nice designs in full colour that plays out to the familiar theme tune.
Trailers for these shows!
Martian Successor Nadesico, Zaion, Najica Blitz Tactics and Sakura Wars.
Well, it's still good. The storylines are coming along nicely and some interesting things have come out of this volume. I've started to come up with my own ideas and predictions for what will happen so it will be interesting to see if I'm correct, but with a series such as this that continues to throw a few surprises in our faces then who can say for sure. All I can say is that the review for volume 5 is just around the corner. Stay tuned.