DVD Review: RahXephon – The Complete Collection

rahxephon_review_screenshot_8101 Films second Anime release is RahXephon – The Complete Collection on DVD and as we mentioned in our unboxing video it features both the TV Series and Movie, but what do we think of it? Find out in our DVD Review of RahXephon – The Complete Collection.

Synopsis:

It is a new reality. For 15 years, the remnants of the human race have fought against the alien Mu and their unstoppable giant Dolem; a battle mankind seems destined to lose. But deep within the captured city of Tokyo, where time flows on a different path and mind-wiped citizens do not even know that they have been conquered, there is something that the Mu fears more than all of mankind’s weapons.

To find that secret, one young woman must penetrate the domed walls of Tokyo Jupiter and find a single young man, a young man upon whom the fate of all humanity depends… for in his heart lies the power of RahXephon, and with it all the worlds can be remade.

Our View:

With mecha styled anime being absent from the UK Anime market for a fair amount of time, excluding Kaze’s recent release of Code Geass, its nice to see 101 Films bringing back one of the older but more current mecha styled titles, especially one that I never got round to watching the first time.  Introducing RahXephon an anime series that see’s 17 year old Ayato Kamina become the centre of attention as he is tasked with piloting a giant mecha called the RahXephon in order to protect the current world from alien styled attacks as well as discover the truth of who he really is.

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The overall story of RahXephon is anything but simple and throughout the course of its 26 episode series (as well as a feature length movie) the story is slowly explained and portrayed to the viewer, but to fully enjoy the series it’s important to understand it’s backstory. RahXephon’s backstory is that several years ago Earth was invaded by multi-dimensional invaders known as Mulians, these Mulians look identical to humans except they have blue blood, this conflict lasted for several years with the Mulians eventually casuing a Nuclear destruction that absorbed Tokyo and in turn created a spherical barrier resembling Jupiter right in the centre of Japan. This area was soon re-named ‘Tokyo Jupiter” and on the inside its inhabitants, some of which are Mulians, are living out their daily lives while other secret organisations are planning to attack the outside world.

This then leads on to the starting point of the series with our main character, Ayato Kamina, living out a normal school life within Tokyo Jupiter, unaware that it is a false reality. However during an unexpected attack on the city Ayato encounters Reika Mishima, a mysterious girl in a yellow dress, who leads Ayato to the RahXephon, a mysterious mecha that suddenly pulls him into the cockpit. From here Ayato ends up piloting the mecha and destroying all of the invaders, but even this is only a prequel of whats to come. Shortly after the RahXephon’s debut Ayato has doubts surrounding his normal life and seeks answers from Haruka Shitou, a woman who was stalking Ayato throughout the day. During this encounter Haruka explains the situation (much to the joys of the viewer) and its soon revealed that RahXephon is a secret weapon developed by the Mulians and that even Ayato’s mother (Maya Kamina) is a Mulian, so after being pulled into RahXephon, Ayato and Haruka leave Tokyo Jupiter and return to the real world much to the surprise of Ayato.

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Upon enterting the real world Ayato teams up with Haruka at TERRA, an organisation designed to defend the world of Dolems, alien styled robots that plan to destroy the earth. Throughout the course of the series Ayato, along with his new friends/team-mates begin a journey of self-discovery as he tries to uncover the truth surrounding his past and the secrets surrounding RahXephon, all of which lead to some interesting and exciting results, even if the series is slow, slightly boring and complicated.

This set itself contains both the original 26 episode long TV anime series and a feature length movie, with both having the same voice actors and animation styles, furthermore the movie itself is just a summarisation of the entire series except it has a ‘improved’ animation style and features newer scenes, but at its core both play out the same story of Ayato trying to find his truth self within this twisted world.

Extras:

Since this DVD Set is just a ‘re-release’ of the original ADV Films individual DVD volumes it means that we are treated to all of the original extra content, these includes English & Japanese cast interviews, production sketches, promotional trailers and, amusingly, trailers for ADV released titles such as Spriggan, Noir and Full Metal Panic.

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If this collection was to be re-authored (or created from scratch) then these extras could have been lost, so it’s nice to see that opting for a cheaper ‘re-release’ option paid off on this particular collection. In terms of extra content each DVD disc contains something different so there is plenty of content to go through, even after watch the series itself.

Disc 1  – Text less opening, text less closing, Special Japanese Promo Trailer, Production Sketches, ADV Trailers (The Devil Lady, Spriggan, Burn Up Excess, Noir)

Disc 2– Text less opening, text less closing, Interview with English Cast, Production Sketches, ADV Trailers (Noir, Boogiepop Phantom, Dirty Pair Flash, Dai-Guard)

Disc 3 – Text less opening, text less closing, RahXephon Early Production Promo, Production Sketches, ADV Trailers (Voices of a Distant Star, King of Bandit Jing, Full Metal Panic, Sonic The Hedgehog)

Disc 4 – Text less opening, text less closing, Interview with English Cast – Part 2, Production Sketches, ADV Trailers (Martain Successor Nadescio: Prince of Darkness, Zaion, Najica: Blitz Tactics, Sakura Wars)

Disc 5 – Text less opening, text less closing, Interview with Hiroki Kanno, Production Sketches, Original Japanese Cover Artwork, ADV Trailers (Zaion, Angelic Layer, Final Fantasy Unlimited, Pretear)

Disc 6  – Text less opening, text less closing, Interview with English Cast – Part 3, Production Sketches, ADV Trailers (Neon Genesis Evangelion, Zaion, King of Bandit Jing, Louie The Rune Soldier)

Dsci 7  – Text less opening, text less closing, Interview with Japanese Staff & Cast, Production Sketches, Fate of Katun Music Video, ADV Trailers (Neon Genesis Evangelion, Full Metal Panic, Mazinkaiser, Kino’s Journey, Zaion

Disc 8  – ADV Trailers (Generator Grawl, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Platinum Edition, Kino’s Journey, Last Exile, Gadguard

The highlight of all the extra features, for me, was the inclusion of English Cast Interviews, which was separated into three 10 minute segments with each segment focusing on different characters as they explain their thoughts on the series and how they portrayed that character on screen. Another highlight of this release is the Japanese Staff & Cast interview, which has a running time of around 20 minutes, as this features conversation with everyone involved in the original Japanese production of the series. Both of these extras are something you do not usually see in anime and to see them on a re-release is a definite bonus.

Specs:

Media:  DVD 9 x7, DVD 5 x1
Region: 2
Running Time:  11:55:00 (8 Discs, 26 Episodes & 1 Movie)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 448Kbps (English), Dolby Digital 2.0 192Kbps (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

RahXephon is a long complicated story that mixes mecha, sci-fi, love and discovery themes into a single series, with Ayato Kamina trying to uncover the truth surrounding his past as well as defend the earth from attacking aliens known as Dolem’s. It’s an interesting story but overall it’s a boring show as while the animation feels ‘current’ (even though its nearly 10 years old) the fight scenes are unentertaining and are usually over within a matter of minutes while story progression moves along at a snails pace. If you are looking for high octane mecha action, such as Gundam Seed or Code Geass, then look elsewhere as this is a story about self-discover with a few alien styled robots thrown into the mix.

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While the series itself is sluggish and boring the extra content provided on the discs is outstanding, with each disc featuring at least a text less videos, production sketches and trailers while the other content is unique to each disc, such as interviews and promotional materials for the series. It’s nice to see 101 Films completely re-using the original ADV Films Discs rather than remaking their own, because if they re-authored the discs then these extras may have been lost – especially the trailers which see some classic anime in action, such as Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Since the DVD’s are exact replicas of the original ADV Films release it means we are treated to the Mediocre English voice acting, with some familiar voices being present such as Monica Rial and Vic Mignogna, but compared to newer anime dubs the voice acting is rather stale and is showing its age. The English audio is also provided in 5.1 Surround Sound but oddly enough its hardly noticeable with the series featuring hardly any background music or surround explosions. As usual the original Japanese Audio track is presented in 2.0 Stereo with Yellow (Optional) English Subtitles, with White subtitles being used for songs playing in the background – compared to the English Dub the Japanese voice track is slightly better but I found myself returning back to the English dub.

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Overall the 101 Films ‘replica’ re-release of RahXephon is everything you could want from an anime release as it features all of the original episodic content (as well as the feature length film) in a single box in addition to all of the extra features. The only real downside is the series itself, as I found it complex, slow and boring, thus making this release a love/hate scenario for me, since I love the extra content but dislike (didn’t enjoy) the story.  If you like fast-paced series such as Gundam Seed & Code Geass then you probably won’t enjoy RahXephon, however if you enjoyed the slow developing stories in X’AMD or Eureka Seven (which is also produced by Bones) then you’ll most likely enjoy RahXephon.

Score: review-stars-3

RahXephon – The Complete Collection will be available on DVD from the 26th August 2013.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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