I have heard of this series being compared to Neon Genesis Evangelion as its counterpart or rival, although I also see it as being a starter or growing plan of other BONES’ series such as Eureka Seven & Xam’d Last Memories and also that RahXephon has its share of being close to the aforementioned series but it is far from that to what I watched. There is also the fact that the director of the series Yutaka Izubuchi has worked with Hideaki Anno on a few projects together and he helped with the design drafts of the EVA units.
In a world where time passes at a crawl and the blood of your neighbor runs blue, 17 year old high school student Ayato Kamina goes about his daily life within Tokyo Jupiter oblivious to the world around him, having been educated with the fact that the all civilization but Tokyo has been destroyed. But all that changes when the mysterious civilization "MU" invades his home, raining destruction down from the sky in the form of strange monsters called Dolems. The events that occur next will lead Ayato to the mysterious woman named Reika Mishima, to the truth of their existence, the discovery of what and who he is, and to the powerful angelic robot RahXephon.
Like I said, the plot, premise, and even the characters is almost similar to EVA although it manages to not mess up or try to make it sound artsy or too pretentious whenever they run out of story ideas, albeit EVA was more of a parody/psychological breakdown of the genre. There is the plotline of being in a war using giant mechas piloted by teenagers to battle with and also the utopian/dystopian element where Kamina discovers that the world he’s been in for so long is not what it seems, with the “humans” in Tokyo Jupiter bleeding blue blood instead of red. Maybe the story isn’t as original and being like NGE, but it is a straight-up mecha anime story that is actually played off well and something that I saw myself liking, much like watching Eureka Seven for the first time.
The characters are ranges from being well-developed and semi-interesting, although I will say once again, the character traits have an EVA feel to this, but I’m proud to say that the main character Kamina Ayato is not a Shinji Ikari as you do feel for him when he discovers his whole world is a lie and how would you react, plus it helps that he isn’t a whiner most of the time. I will say that Haruka Shitow is exactly like Misato Katsuragi for being the older motherly figure to Kamina but has some problems of her own, too, and there’s her sister Megumi, which I would say have some similar features to Asuka, but thankfully, not that much as she gotten to be less annoying and more relatable throughout the series. I really can’t tell who the Rei Ayanami of this show is basically either Reika Mishima or Kuon “Quon” Kisaragi as both happened to be silent and stoic figures of the show. There are also Kamina’s friends at Tokyo Jupiter Hiroko Asahina and Mamoru Torigai, who are also more messed up than him ever since he left as one of them discovers the truth for them and that one of them is quite a prick (Try and guess who I am talking about).
The animation by BONES is now quite dated with its’ character and mecha designs, being made in the early 2000s, 5 years after EVA, and for what it was, it had great animation for the time being with the art style and colors being muted. Musically, it was rather good to an extent; the background music can get a bit repetitive but sometimes I don’t even notice it that much but I really do love the opening theme for show, “Hemisphere” which was produced by Yoko Kanno but sadly, that’s the only thing she handled in the music department and the ending theme was very silent-sounding and docile but I happened to think it somewhat fits well into the show.
The ADV Films dub was actually an okay dub with some overacting in some parts. I really did like Chris Patton’s performance as Kamina Ayato and I can see why the guy is a great voice actor as he played someone that would act realistic in a situation of crazy proportions. I’ll say Monica Rial was good in her role as Haruka but whenever it’s her cue to react or scream at something, it pierces into overacting a little and yes, I will mention that Vic Mignogna is also a part of the dub and he was an alright addition as capturing the prick nature in Mamoru.
FINAL VERDICT: All-in-all, Rahxephon is something that I would watch and actually recommend over Neon Genesis Evangelion as this actually goes into that territory without having to stoop into being overly pretentious although Rahxephon is guilty of being like that sometimes.
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