RahXephon - Orchestration 6: Aria Review
When Commander Kunugi is relieved from duty Isshiki Makoto takes over as TERRA's new leader. He starts planning an attack on Tokyo Jupiter that will see devastating results. In the mean time Mamoru enters the picture, with the intent to seek revenge for the death of a friend.
A new recruit joins TERRA, who immediately grabs the attention of Ayato due to her strikingly familiar looks, the questions to why she is here will be answered but most importantly - can Ayato face his destiny and protect those around him or will he give up his important role?
We're onto the penultimate volume in this series and at this point I really do not wish to give too much away. However, for a show like this it is very hard not to so throughout the review there will be spoilers but I’ll try to keep them free of anything major.
Volume 6 of RahXephon starts off with another Dolem attack as the defence force struggles to keep the Mulian fleet at bay. More TERRA soldiers are sent out to face the threat but little can be done without Ayato who has been arrested for his previous actions. After this things slow down and the series concentrates on its characters again, putting aside the heavy bouts of action, which do still crop up here and there but are far from being as important.
A few new things have begun to develop, first of which is the odd appearance of Lt Haruka who bears an uncanny resemblance to Reika Mishima and who carries what seems to be a great deal of importance. Interestingly the members around her have no recollection of where she came from and as such she’s treated as a normal part of the crew. Her powers extend far beyond what anyone else could imagine and while she momentarily talks with Ayato every now and then her agenda is slowly becoming clear.
There are probably only three major plot developments that take place and for the sake of not spoiling them I'll try to keep it short. First is the reappearance of Quon who is now in the hands of the Bahbem foundation, something that causes friction between her and Helena who seems displeased that Quon is becoming the more talked about figure. The second and biggest twist involves Mamoru, though it is hardly surprising it is a bigger part of the story that causes a huge confliction for Ayato. Third is the involvement of Ixtli and the importance of what it is doing here. Still a mysterious part of the story Ixtli should be revealed in the final volume, for now though it continues to be referred to in name only with a lot of talk about tuning and instruments.
Volume 6 isn't without its tragic moments. More friends leave and crew members become despondent, destiny is faced and questions are still being asked that have yet to be answered. All of this happens during the relatively slow episodes that are on offer but then RahXephon has never been about rushing things and has always kept a steady pace, something that is beginning to work against it now because the show has a hell of a lot of work to do if it is to wrap things up neatly in its final volume.
RahXephon - "Aria" contains the following episodes:
Twentieth Movement: The Artisan's Battle - Interested Parties
Isshiki has taken over as the new TERRA Commander and has made several changes, including introducing his new Lieutenant, Haruka. Meanwhile, Ayato is back from Tokyo Jupiter and doesn't take to Isshika’s new role very well; after all they’ve never been the best of friends. Ayato learns that Isshika is planning a major assault on Tokyo Jupiter and that his services with RahXephon are needed, despite the growing hatred between him and his new leader.
Twenty-First Movement: The Carved Seal of Xephon - Goodbye My Friend
The attack on Tokyo Jupiter is near, but it becomes apparent that it won't be easy due to several risks that Isshika seems to be ignoring. Ayato's old friend, Mamoru pays a visit, one that won't stay very friendly for long.
Twenty-Second Movement: Operation Jupiter Obliteration - Downfall
Isshiki ignores direct orders and places his focus on attacking Tokyo Jupiter's Absolute Barrier. Quon and Ayato start experiencing problems and Quon is used by the Bahbem Foundation. Ayato learns that he is to be used as part of Isshika's big plan, much to his reluctance and unfortunately Isshika sets in motion things that cannot be undone.
Twenty-Third Movement: From Here to Eternity - Where the Sweet Bird Song
A huge Dolem begins its attack on Nirai-Kanai, while the people of the city are ordered to evacuate. Kunugi is placed back in charge of TERRA defence where he is soon contacted by Kuki Masayoshi - a former Colonel of TERRA and now a Mulian commander, who demands that the RahXephon be handed over.
ADV present another nice looking cover that depicts Ayato, Quon and Haruka. Inside you'll find another high quality booklet that features artwork of the Dolem ships and characters that dominate this volume. Also included in the booklet are translation notes and interviews with director Yutaka Izubuchi, assistant director's Tomoko Kyoda and Souichi Masui and actors, Chikao Otsuka and Kenji Utsumi.
Keeping up with consistency the transfer here is almost perfect. RahXephon is such a great looking show, much like the majority of recent productions so it becomes more difficult to separate it from the other high quality series out there. The transfer here is framed at the original 1.33:1 ratio and presents the series vibrantly, with plenty of sharp details and great colour reproduction. There is a spot of noticeable banding but it is little to worry about.
ADV provide us with the original Japanese 2.0 track and a newly mixed 5.1 English dub. The Japanese track does the job well enough for me, with clear sound and decent effects coming from the front speakers, but if you really must listen to the English dub then you'll find it a pleasant surprise, with a good amount of spatial effects and voice acting that is far from awful.
Optional English subtitles are available which are easy to read in a bold, yellow font. In the case of simultaneous background voices we get another set which are white.
ADV never tire of putting these on. I've noticed that Geneon Entertainment also include clean opening and closing but they spread them over the first 2 volumes and then leave them out of future ones, something which ADV might want to consider. Granted that leaves little else in terms of extras but I'd hardly call these worthwhile after seeing them on five volumes already.
Interview with English Cast - Final
This runs for a whopping 44-minutes and features interviews with Allison Keith (Cathy McMahon), Tiffany Grant (Kim Hotal), John Gremion (Commander Kunugi), John Swayze (Shougo Rikudoh) and Kelli Cousins (Helena Bahbem). This is simple Q&A time with each actor responding accordingly. I must say I'd prefer to see more Japanese interviews but otherwise this is a decent little feature that will more than please fans of ADV's voice artists. While I do have some personal favourites I often find the interviews lacking somewhat, as a lot of time is spent on asking about a particular actor's background, which is ok but I'd sooner learn more about the project itself, which for obvious reasons the actors can't provide much information on.
A short gallery that includes drawings of several characters who appear in this volume, along with vehicle designs.
Trailers for other ADV releases: Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Director's Cut, Zaion,
King of Bandit Jing and Rune Soldier.
Sorry for the light review this time around but as RahXephon comes to its end it wouldn't be right to spoil things now. However I can say that we do learn more here, enough to keep us clinging on for its final stage. While the series has been good up to this point I still find myself not getting caught up in the emotion of it all, despite major events that have happened. I shall be taking a look at Volume 7 soon in the hopes that it offers something special, so stay tuned as the final part will be online shortly.
Last updated: 27/05/2018 14:55:21