Get in the Other Simulwatch - RahXephon! [ep26-22/05]

Professor Irony

That's right folks, take a sip of whatever you're drinking every time someone mentions Evangelion, because for this simulwatch, we're doing RahXephon!


Of all the post-Evangelion series that tried to ride that wave of psuedo-philosophical robots and big stompy teenagers, 2002's RahXephon is generally held up as one of the most successful, and certainly the one most people will still remember. There is also a small minority who swear by it and will insist that this is the better show, but well - let's just watch and find out. My impression is that it takes a very similar premise and then goes off in a different direction with it, but don't hold me to that one.

It's not the easiest show to summarise without spoiling the first few episodes, but it concerns a young man called Kamina, who lives underground with his brother whose apparently humdrum life in Tokyo comes to an abrupt halt after he's caught up in a train collision on his way to school. Will he get in the robot? Will he get in the robot faster than someone whose name rhymes Inji Shikari?

This will be my third (?) attempt to watch the series, so I do have some idea about what happens in it. The most I would say for now is that I would encourage people to stick with it. By comparison to Eva (I've finished the bottle) the first episode is a little underwhelming and not a great advert for what the rest is like. If you're not feeling it and want to get off, by all means don't force yourself, but it will take a few eps before we really get the measure of it.

The plan, as before, will be to do an episode a day, and the show is currently available to stream on HIDIVE.
Episode 1


And you thought your commute was bad? Poor Ayato Kamina’s day has just begun when he’s already been in a train crash, witnessed an alien invasion and been attacked by a pair of sleazy government types in suits. At least Faye Valentine turned up to save him.


There are also giant flying... statues being employed to fight the aliens? Then he takes the spooky girl for a ride in an armoured train to an Ancient Greek temple, which to be fair, is quite a memorable first date.


Think I was maybe a bit quick to describe this episode as underwhelming, but for all the myriad of things happening, I’m not sure there’s an obvious hook to it. The main thing that catches my attention is that it’s not yet clear whether this battle with the alien invaders is a new development or whether it’s been going on for a while. The city certainly seems prepared for it, but there’s little inkling that this is what’s in store before Ayato emerges from the tunnel, and I think that might be what bothers me.

Bones certainly did a great job with the production though; it all looks very slick and there’s some nice work on the characters’ expressions too. It’s just unfortunate that the version on HIDIVE is not the best quality; presumably it’s sourced from a DVD, but the transfer is pretty rough looking, with obvious interlacing issues.
Episode 1

I feel a song coming on... Aaaaahhhhhhh.... So I watched the first episode online tonight on my computer (it's still Friday for a few minutes over here in the US as I type this), but yeah, it is not the best looking picture quality. I'm going to dig out my JP Blu-ray box of the series and re-watch the first episode tomorrow, and see what that looks like up on the big projection screen in my theater room. So yes, that means I'll be watching the series in Japanese with subtitles, as I do with all anime when viewing on my own.

So I found the first episode interesting enough, I think there was quite a lot of information pushed on the viewer from the get-go, more so from a visual standpoint than from dialogue. I had previously only seen two or three episodes of this many years ago, so I remember next to nothing. I would have to assume the battle with the blue-bloods has been an ongoing thing, since the land-lubbers already have the huge floaty-statues constructed and operational to fight the aliens from the Evil Empire's battle cruiser. So I guess so far it is a similar-ish plot as Evangelion, although that is a series I've never seen, except for the 1.11 remake movie.

I may add more to this post after I re-watch the episode tomorrow, but it's after midnight now so time to head off to bed.
Epsiode 1

You can really feel how important music is to this show. Right from the off the cold open has someone listening to music and throughout we have hints of the voices singing. Even one of the floating angel type things uses its voice as a weapon. I even think they are named after musical terms. (And incidentally the dvd discs are called Orchestrations) it seems that music and finding ones voice will be a prominent theme.

Overall I enjoyed this first episode and some of the framing and art is really good. Some fun use of Dutch tilts and the like to help sell the characters emotions in otherwise still shots.

The show is definitely borrowing from Eva a lot and Katsuragi is looking well and the hair cut suits her!

As a silly note it seems weird he was concerned enough to take is bag with him from the train to 'get help' and never do that. I guess the plot needed him to still have the tracker on him.
Episode 1
Not really seeing much Evangelion influence as I was expecting but that sure was an interesting first episode. While not much is explained thus far it's still providing a good mystery and should be interesting to see how this progresses.

Also interesting to note the presence of music thus far. While I doubt it'll mix the music and mecha genres in a similar fashion to the Macross franchise it'll still be interesting to see what role music has.
Episode 2

Really piling on the mysteries this episode. Whilst a slower epsiode it certainly was intriguing and the shocking reveal at the end was quite the cliff hanger. It's kind of hard to talk about this episode as it's mostly just posing questions the show will deal with later.

Instead I'll take a moment to say how much I'm enjoying the mecha designs. It's all very visually appealing and quirky. And the Rahxephon room has this old world fantasy vibe going on that feels like it has more to do with gods and magic than science and technology.
Episode 2


Well, that's a look.

As WMD mentioned, it does seem like this episode is still just establishing things. I feel like it’s trying to put a bit too much out on the table at once though - there’s an awful lot to take in here in terms of different factions and layers of reality.



Ayato’s classmates suddenly adjusting to Mishima’s arrival does seem to confirm that he isn’t the only one who can see her though, even if their abrupt change in behaviour only raises more questions. His mother seems rather a cold fish, so the reveal that she is blood type blue isn’t a huge surprise though.

Hang tight folks; I think we do get a fairly significant reveal in the next episode.
Episode 2

So yeah, who's the good guys and who's the bad guys - I'm not really sure. If Mum's a blue-blood, what are you, Ayato? And the floaty-statues, are they all on the same side or not? The female-ish ones are Dolems, I believe we are told. Is RahZephon a Dolem, or something else? I'm thinking something else - because hey, it's not a girl in the cockpit, lol. It seems to like to pick on Fortissimo a lot, anyway...

So where does Reika disappear to all the time? Is she able to move between different realities or something? Dunno, but I really like that Faye Valentine chick with the yellow headband, Haruka - she can be my waifu for this series, for sure. But that means she'll get killed off by Episode 6 for sure, too - The ones I love always die prematurely, lol...

I dug out my JP Blu-ray Box of RahXephon, and rewatched Episode 1 and watched episodes 2 and 3. Definitely a big improvement in video quality over the stream I was watching yesterday. Very glad I imported it five years ago, just so I can finally use it for this simulwatch!
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Episodes 1 - 3

This is my 4th watch of RahXephon, it's a series that I really like. I'm watching rip of the JPBD that I used when I last watched it about 5 years ago. Watching the first episode I'm reminded at just how good a job BONES did with the animation, I remember when I first saw it (which was on DVD) I was always taken with the animation. Likewise I think the music is excellent as well.

The first couple of episodes take time to sow some seeds of intrigue and start to slowly build this alternate world. In the third episode after an intense opening scene, the pace slows as the relationship between Ayako and Haruka is developed which is handled really well imo as tough Haruka shows her vulnerable side (especially when she wants to keep the cat) and Ayato deals with coming to terms with the fact that everything he thought he knew was wrong.

The Evagelion comparison is unavoidable, but as stated already I don't really get any Evangelion vibes in these episodes. I asked Masahiko Minami about it at a Barbican screening of Sword of the Stranger in the late 00s and he said that the creators were definitely influenced by Evangelion but wanted to put their own spin on it.

I always liked the Dolems, I thought the idea and their design was fantastic but a few years after seeing RahXephon for the first time I watched Dangaizer 3 and was intrigued to see that Masami Obari had basically used a similar idea and design a few years before RahXephon and I've always wondered if the idea in Dangaizer 3 influenced RahXephon?
Episode 3

Interesting episode that feels a bit unnecessarily cryptic with its information at times. No wonder Ayato is super frustrated when things like what the actual year is, is drip fed to him over a day. At times it feels like Haruka is trying on personalities to find one Ayato will trust.

I really liked the artwork for the barrier! And the animation at the start with the brief battle was really good too. The design work is definitely the highlight of the show so far. Even the dusty derelict city was just interetsing to look at!
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Episode 4

A really good episode with lots of new characters introduced. This is the first episode that had Eva vibes for me with the introduction of TERRA (NERV) and the D-1 (Angel). Sets up the conflict between the army and TERRA well and adds new layers of mystery especially with details like the Mu wave and the sinister looking guy who turns up at the end.
Episode 3

Interesting episode that feels a bit unnecessarily cryptic with its information at times. No wonder Ayato is super frustrated when things like what the actual year is, is drip fed to him over a day.

I completely agree even in episode 4 Ayato is told very little, not that he seems to be interested himself which again kind of reminds me of Shinji at the start of Eva.
Epsiode 4

I liked this epsiode. Seeing the outside world and some of the politics going on was fun. The new cast members are a mix of fun, intriguing and villainous which makes for a good mix. Although the Captain constantly berating Ayato for knowing nothing but literally also not explaining a thing to him was really annoying! Is it really any wonder he ends up apathetic to it all after that treatment?!

The action set piece at the end was also a good watch and after the drones swift failure we get to see how tough the Rahxephon is.
Episodes 2-4
Didn't think I'd fall behind on a simulwatch this early! Anyways these episodes have done a fair bit in explaining more about the world which is great to see. Also really enjoying the OP which gives off Macross vibes (no surprise considering it's composed by Yoko Kanno).

It's also become more apparent with episodes 3-4 where all the Evangelion comparisons come from with its more organic takes on mecha and character factions. The way the Dolem in episode 4 exploded into a shower of blood is definitely inspired by the Angels of Evangelion.
Episode 3



For me, this is the one where the series starts to solidify a lot more. The reveal that the world isn’t as screwed as Ayato has been told, and time isn’t passing in Tokyo the way it is elsewhere in the world, feels like a significant step away from Eva, even if I feel like there are still superficial similarities (the close ups of Ayato screaming in the cockpit in particular). Much as it feels oddly unhurried compared to the scenes immediately before, I like the little skit with Ayato and Haruka wandering around the deserted town too - their retro attire gives it a bit of a Go Nagai vibe.
Episode 5

No mecha action here but just a very horny Ayato 😂😂😂

But seriously I do like the way this series takes its time to establish the world and the characters and how they all fit together. Some more new characters are introduced and Ayato gets a new sempai and seems settled for the first time. Elvy feels very much like she's based on Misato from Evangelion, the drunken behaviour, the rivalry with Haruka and that she wears exactly the same necklace.
Episode 5

This episode felt a lot more organic in the way it told its story and the various character interactions were all really interesting to see as pretty much the bulk of the episode is Ayato meeting someone and reacting in some distinct way;
Commander: Hatred,
Haruka: Anger,
The Doctor: Weariness,
Uncle: Cautious optimism etc.

And crucially has extended interaction with Megumi (sp?) Where we get to see different sides to both of them which makes them both quite likeable even if they dont yet get along. The was this epsiode minimises exposition and allows the characters to exist is a really nice change of pace.

Around that there were some interesting Eva nods the introduction of the briefing being held in a dark room with bright white windows and the camera switching from head to head felt very Eva. This show also managed to get an elevator scene in!

The little exposition we got was also a really nice metaphor. Ayato and the Rahxaphon having some deep link where Ayatos state of mind is affecting the physical well being of the mecha is a great metaphor for mental health and how it can affect a person physically/outwardly but yet remain unseen by those affected.

This also concludes disk 1 of the DVD which was called Orchestration 1: Threshold. And it does feel like we have finally taken our first steps into the story proper now we know everyone bit better.
Well, I've fallen behind, and probably won't be able to catch up until the weekend. I'm more of a binge watcher, 6+ episodes in a sitting, and I just don't have the time during the week to watch an individual episode every night, so I may not be able to participate in this thread like I was hoping too. Oh well, I gave it a try... I'll try to stay caught up with the group here at least on the weekends, I've really been liking this series so far, so I do want to finish it.
Well, I've fallen behind, and probably won't be able to catch up until the weekend. I'm more of a binge watcher, 6+ episodes in a sitting, and I just don't have the time during the week to watch an individual episode every night, so I may not be able to participate in this thread like I was hoping too. Oh well, I gave it a try... I'll try to stay caught up with the group here at least on the weekends, I've really been liking this series so far, so I do want to finish it.
It's pretty common for people to fall behind and then do catch up posts so it's no biggie.

Alternatively if you know you cant watch on a daily basis you can always watch ahead at the weekend and then chip in each day for those episodes. When we did Nadia I was going on holiday before the simulwatch got to the end so I binge finished the series. Wrote up my comments separately and then each day could still post for each epsiode.

Theres no rule other than dont post about epsiodes ahead of where the group is as to not spoil things for others.
Episode 5
Good to see this episode focus on characters this time and let Ayato get settled into the outside world. I too like the concept of Ayato being linked to the RahXephon. It was an element that worked well in Evangelion and it should be interesting to see how this series uses it.