Xam’d Lost Memories (pronounced zam-d) AKA Bounen no Xam’d, is a unique 26 episode sci-fi war anime, that reminded me a lot of anime like FMA (same studio), Eureka Seven, Evangelion and even Valkyria Chronicles (the game, haven’t watched the anime). The setting is some sort of strange sci-fi future world where there’s anti-gravity technology and flying ships (ala Eureka Seven) sometime after a war, and a neutral country is being plunged into another war. In an early moment, you see the results of the destruction and fighting and realise what a serious anime this is. Amidst the chaos, Isshu’s postal ship continues on its deliveries of mail and parcels, while some mysterious events are set in motion for Akiyuki, all revolving around something called Xam’d.
I didn’t do a review for the last anime I watched, since I didn’t feel like it and I was busy. While I’ve technically got no excuses now, I’m falling behind on a few other personal things and will be slowing down the rate at which I watch anime, thereby also giving me more time for these reviews, but also making them less often. I might speed them up if I have time, but who knows. I’ve finally been getting sleep these last few days.
The quality and clarity of the animation is amazing. It’s available in full 1080p HD, but even on 720p one can appreciate the effort that went into it. The backgrounds are detailed and the character models look clear, except at a distance of course. But one small thing I noticed. The motion is a bit janky, I was watching the very first episode and after a certain point it seemed the framerate was very low, fluidity was lacking despite the great detail in the animation. This would have absolutely ruined the experience, but thankfully it doesn’t always run like that. Tha small blemish prevents this from being perfect animation for a 2008 anime.
The animation style is an uncommon one, the only anime that comes to mind with a similar aesthetic is Eureka Seven. The character designs don’t use transitional colours, it’s kept very simple with some good single colour shading. The movement in the first episode seemed very odd for an anime, it felt like a Disney cartoon to me with the free flow, which was otherwise ruined by terrible framerate/bad mid-animation. I like the design of the mascot character, they look so familiar, but are a unique design. I’m reminded of the mole-pig thing in Gurren Lagann. The most striking and unique aspect of the animation are the life forms and machines. They all have a distinctive design and a lime green colour seems to signify power as well as blood for these creatures?
One last thing to add is that there’s no pointless pervy BS in this anime. There are a few strange bits in prison cells, but the themes behind this anime are much more serious and potentially upsetting. After all, this is a Bones studio anime.
Oh damn that intro/outro… so good. The intro is done by Boom Boom Satellites and the outro is done by Kylee, both are modern day rock songs. I went and got the entire discography of both artists following this. It’s a nice change, but not uncomfortable from the movie-like music in the anime itself. There’s not much rock in there, the music was very similar to anime like FMA and Eureka Seven, suitable epic music for those moments, tense music and even the pleasant chilled out music where relevant.
This anime is in both English and Japanese. I watched it in English, but a few niggles means you’d probably want to watch this in Japanese. I stuck with English because I recognised the voices. Some of the voices seem very off, like the voices of elderly characters. Instead of sounding like elderly people, they sound like young/middle-aged folks trying to do an ‘old person voice.’ A lot of voices for additional characters are overused, some even share voices with main characters. As much as Monica Rial gets around, I found that her voice initially didn’t suit the character of Haru too well here, I’m thinking she’s an overused voice actor. There’s been a few roles where her voice didn’t fit. Later on I got used to it and I even forgot that whose voice it was behind that character. The voices really let the sound of this anime down, such a shame.
Akiyuki had the familiar voice of Blake Shepard, who was Otonashi in Angel Beats, Takabayashi in Another, Michio Hoshino in Ghost Hound, Kei Takashima in Special A and Yumeji Fujiwara in Yumekui (Dream Eater) Merry. Haru Nishimura is of course voiced by Monica Rial, the voice of Mei Misaki in Another, Chanet Laforet in Baccano, Chihiro Shindo in Ef: A tale of…, Lyra in FMA, Sayara Yamanobe in Mnemosyne, Tsubaki in Soul Eater, Coopa in Tower of Druaga, Sakura in Tsubasa Chronicle, Hazuki in Tsukuyomi Moonphase and Maria in Witchblade. Nakiami is voiced by Luci Christian, who has voiced Haruo Kamio in Air, Masami Iwasawa and Sekine in Angel Beats, Nagisa Furukawa in Clannad, Ophelia in Claymore, Mariko in Elfen Lied, Miyako Miyamura in Ef: A Tale of…, Wrath in FMA, Sanae Oogami in Ghost Hound, Mishiho Maeno in Mnemosyne, Medusa Gorgon in Soul Eater, Lucy in The World God Only Knows, Chun Hyang in Tsubasa Chronicle, Haiji/Hikaru Midou in Tsukuyomi Moon Phase and Yui Kounagi in Yumekui Merry. I noticed Furuichi as David Matranga, he voiced Hideki Hinata in Angel Beats, Kubodera in Another, Tomoya Okazaki in Clannad, Yuu Himura in Ef: A Tale of…, and some others I’ve forgotten. Isshu Benikawa’s voice was recognised to be Shelley Calene-Black, she voices Kyou Fujibayashi in Clannad, Shirakawa in Elfen Lied, Margery Daw in Shakugan no Shana and Saki Kirishima in Yumekui Merry. Midori Nishimura had the familiar voice of Hilary Haag, who voiced Yui in Angel Beats, Fuuko Ibuki in Clannad, Mizuki Hayama in Ef: a Tale of… and Merry in Yumekui Merry. Finally Raigyo was voiced by Andrew Love of course, who’s voice Akio Furukawa in Clannad, Tadashi Karino in Special A and Yuuya Daigo in Tokyo Majin.
Akiyuki Takahara is the lead protagonist in this anime. A teenage highschool boy living on the island of Senten with his divorced mother who uses him as a courier to send food and messages to his father. But not for long, since he leaves Senten after becoming a Xam’d during an invasion of Senten by the forces of the north. This guy is unsure of himself and what he wants, his naivety concerning Xam’d and his insistence on being self-reliant can get him into trouble. He gets treated somewhat badly by the crew members of the ship Zambani, in a somewhat realistic way. They care for him, but won’t show it. While he does look like a typical weedy teenage boy protagonist, he is actually a bit more physically mature, he looks a bit more manly and fits perfectly in the clothes of an older (also manly) guy. Later on, he just looks older than he was at the start. He values the lives of the ones he loves, which is why he can’t permanently return to Senten Island, as his presence may put them in danger. He manages to keep in contact with Haru through letters.
Haru Nishimura is Akiyuki’s classmate and childhood friend at Senten Island. She attends a martial arts club along with Furuichi and is quite skilled in hand to hand combat. The 3 of them are very close friends, though she does worry about Akiyuki a bit more than one would expect. When others jokingly refer to him as her boyfriend, she doesn’t deny it despite the actual lack of such a relationship. It’s quite obvious that she loves him. She also is very protective over her younger sister Midori, who is crippled. She lives with just her father and sister on Senten Island, since her mother died when she was younger.
Nakiami AKA Cloud Rider Tenjho is a girl from Tessec village (where the inhabitants are easily recognised by their facial tattoos) and a crew member of the Zambani. She lives on the Zambani and is generally a solitary person. She is quite knowledgeable about Xam’d and the human forms, she creates various things with the lab-like equipment in her lab and treats/helps Akiyuki as a Xam’d. According to Isshu, she was an emotional and misbehaved child and was given the name Nakiyami for it. Now Nakiyami is a very sensible but stoic individual, she never smiles or cries. She has a desire to save those abused by the North and turned into human forms, she wants to coexist with people and Xam’d alike. She was meant to be the chief of Tessec village, but this role went to her sister since she ran away to find her own path.
Toujirou Kakisu is a commander of the Senten Island army and a key figure in the body that governs the island and keeps it safe. His father was a Southerner and his mother was born on Senten Island, but he was usually regarded by his Southern birth. He wants to protect his island and defeat the north, but he is willing to pay anything to do so. He was saved by Ryuuzou Takehara in the previous war. He oversees a research project worked on by Reizou Kanba, a man from Tessec village, which is instrumental in their campaign against the north. Kakisu is harsh, but troubled man and will let little stand in his way, but he still maintains respect for those like Ryuuzou. The very superficial woman Prois Sukaki is his aide/secretary, who will gladly follow his orders and keeps on top of her own image. She smokes (probably because she thinks it makes her look cool) and sticks to Kakisu like glue. There’s also something to suggest that the two might have some sort of a relationship. She’s often seen giving advice and helping out Haru.
Ryuuzou Takehara and Fusa Takehara are Akiyuki’s parents. They live separately, mostly because Akiyuki’s mother is a mean bitch doesn’t get along with her husband anymore. She seems to work an unknown office type job, judging by her attire. But she also very devoted and protective of her son, even if she sometimes gets mad at him. Ryuuzou is a doctor and is a veteran of war, where he saved people’s lives as an army doctor. He is friends with Haru’s father, Jinichirou Nishimura, the General of the army and he is even well acquainted with Commander Kakisu, whose life he saved. He treats any and all patients, disregarding who they are, but he also tries having a go at researching the mysterious seeds related to the Xam’d. He also cares for his son, but holds his emotions back a bit more. He’s a nice person and tried to get along with his wife, despite living apart, often giving her tangerines.
Isshu Benikawa AKA the Crimson Revolutionary is the captain of the ship Zambani. She divulges in bad habits like drinking and smoking and doesn’t bother with relationships. She’s fairly womanly and obsessive over her looks, she is also very lax and lazy. But when it calls for it, she will pull her own weight and whip out her guns and weaponry to defend her ship. She’s quite skilled at using them. She likes to make fun of the other crew members and effectively raised Nakiyami, even giving her that name. She won’t show it, but she is rather attached to Nakiyami.
Raigyo Tsunomata is another crew member of the Zambani, but he’s not there from the start. He is also a Xam’d and has survived a long time without turning into stone. He returns from a long break and brings back presents for everyone, everyone on the ship seems to love him. He was the ship’s Xam’d before Akiyuki, but he also seems to know Isshu very well, perhaps they had something in common in the past. He’s a sensible, nice guy and advices Akiyuki on occasion, but he generally never gets too close to anyone.
Yango can be considered a main character, but he comes in later so it’s a bit spoilery to talk about him. He’s an orphan who is from Tessec and also a Xam’d. He lets his emotions get the better of him. He forms a good bond with one of the main characters whom he meets and their relationship is like that of parent and child.
The other characters are mostly side characters. Furuichi Teraoka is a friend of Akiyuki and Haru, he is the one left to comfort Haru when Akiyuki is gone. He joins the army to protect his island and he’s generally a serious guy. He was also in the martial arts club with Haru. He lives with just his mother and ends up being a good soldier. But there is more to this character than meets the eye. Midori Nishimura is Haru’s crippled younger sister, a girl who always smiles and is generally positive. Among the crew of the Zambani is the pilot Ahm, a big guy who gets teased by Isshu as she calls him fat. She also calls the ship’s cook Yunbo fat, but she has an excuse as she is a mother and is raising a kid (though she hasn’t been able to get rid of the pregnancy weight?). Hinokimaru is Yunbo’s child, he looks a lot like Raigyo but there is little mention of who his father really is. His ‘adopted’ sister is Kobako, a girl orphaned by the loss of her parents and brought to the ship by… guess who? Akushiba is the annoying kind-of-a-jerk type guy, who also seems to be a bit of a pervert judging by how many pin-up posters he has next to his bed *shudder*. Kiselji is the old man mechanic who drinks a fair bit. People who aren’t on the ship… Kujireika is Nakiami’s aforementioned sister and the current head of Tessec village. She seems to have certain ambitions. Reizou Kanba is an older man, originating from Tessec, but living on Senten and working under Kakisu to achieve his goals. Sannova is the old lady of Tessec descent who seems to know what is going on, she appears to be very close for Nakiami who was originally raised by her. By some coincidence Sannova and Nakiami share the same design of facial tattoos… Sannova also has a group of strange white haired, red eyed children under her command who go around harvesting life force/Haruko from corpses.
A special mention for the Roppa, the cute little mascot animal who is adopted by Hinokimaru as a pet. It looks like a cross between a rabbit and a puppy. It can inflate itself into a bouncy pillow like thing. Best of all, it makes squeaking noises, like a squeaky toy or a mouse. It’s just adorable.
The Island of Senten is a neutral zone between the superpowers of the Northern Empire and the Southern Nation. In the past it was caught up in the war between them. Now war has come again, with the North using their monsters with severely destructive power called ‘human forms’. These are related to the Xam’d. Senten island itself uses mech suits that operate according to the user’s concentration and mental waves, they are a lot like the Evas from Evangelion, except smaller and they can fly. With war breaking out and Akiyuki becoming a Xam’d events have been set in motion, various people follow different paths that will all eventually intertwine. Xam’d are made by the mysterious white-haired children when they release a Haruko and it embeds into a host. If the host loses control, they turn to red stone, which over a long time turns into normal mossy rock. The human can learn to coexist with the Haruko and make use of it’s power.
The plot of this anime can be hard to follow. It’s very unique and unlike anything I’ve seen before, though as I mentioned, it reminds me of certain other anime like FMA, Eureka Seven, Evangelion and even the Valkyria Chronicles game, which shares a similar wartime plot of a small nation’s struggle against an aggressive empire. By the end, I think I understood what it all meant, though there was a thing or two in the deep lore that had me confused. It’s definitely not a predictable story, with many sudden revelations and it had me excited for each next episode, my eyes were glued to the screen for the most part. The plot also progresses very fast, time seems to flow well and characters seem to change. Certain teenage characters ‘graduate’ into adults by getting a proper job. I swear Akiyuki’s hair gets longer and he gets a teensy-weensy bit bigger by the second half. Haru also seems to mature from being a simple high-school girl In that respect, the first half is more ‘normal’ if that can be a thing and actually ends by episode 12/13ish. From then on the plot speeds up and goes to various places. There are twists and surprises throughout, viewers may miss some if they aren’t paying attention (I guessed it! Thought it doesn’t make sense).
There are many heavy themes here. With war comes great destruction and loss of life. This anime doesn’t shy from showing the horrors and atrocities that result from such acts. There is also the strong theme of religion and this is almost cult-like. Certain characters like Yunbo are religious, it seems to be particularly strong among characters from the North. This anime also tackles the concept of life and death. Family is also another aspect, there are a lot of children lacking one or both parents. In that respect Akiyuki is lucky enough to have both of his parents. Other horrible themes are touched on, think crimes. Torture and dubious experimentation included.
The story here is very serious, with plenty of action and a good climax and an actual conclusion. It isn’t afraid to do some crazy things, a few of these might not make sense at first, but then you have to realise some things and they do. Or some of them still make no sense and would have greatly benefit from a good explanation of exposition. With the great pace and even the use of passage of time, especially at the end (dream come true!) for a bit of fan-service (not the ecchi kind), the story and the characters that propel it, is the best bit of this anime and really makes it shine.
Xam’d is one of few anime that throws the viewer into a world and propels them along the plot at a very fast but good pace. It’s one with very little anime bullshit and the only thing that seems typical of general anime are the Japanese names/fictional terminology and the characters on the intro/outro. Otherwise it’s very similar to a lot of other good anime. It’s not as mind-blowingly amazing (not until the climax anyway) and it does have its issues, early animation and voice acting included, but damn is it good. If you like anime like FMA, Eureka Seven or even enjoyed the Valkyria Chronicles game, I recommend you to give this a go. The fact it is competent should not have to be praised, but in this world where most anime lack plot or solid conclusion, this one of the few that we can rely on. And the unique world setting also makes it more interesting. Give the first few episodes a go to see if you like it, please don’t judge it by the animation in the first episode or few, or by the sub-par voicing. Try to see this for the brain-melting (though not psychedelic like Evangelion) and unique plot. This seems to me like an anime a lot of people can enjoy, despite the difficult subject matter.
Family-friendliness Rating: 3/5 Family friendly, but a couple of jokes and the crazy plot… maybe I should give it a 4? (lower is better)
Overall Rating: 9/10 (higher is better)
If you've heard of this show you've likely seen all the familiar predecessors, and the bottom line is there isn't really anything new or original here. It starts off as a very unique and compelling show (with all the usual tropes and cliches) but slowly devolves into just another generic anime shortly after half-way. By the end you'll be scratching your head over what you just saw when you realize the show has literally come full circle and not really answered much of anything.
If you're new to anime or just looking for an above average show to pass the time, it's worth a watch. If you're looking for something unique or action-packed (don't be confused by the first couple episodes), give this show a pass.
The plotline of Xam'd, although pretty original and not very predictable, is not the strong point. I had no problems with the plot and really liked it, except for the fact that a clear explanation of why a war was being waged between the North and the South was never explained. Sometimes the episodes meanderd a bit during the first third of the series. Also, for those people who don't like slice of life type of stories might find the beginning a bit slow. However, since I do enjoy slice of life, I had no problems.
However in the last part, the director knows exactly what he wants to do. It isn't rushed like most endings now a days are, and it leaves a satisfying feeling when it ends.
Another thing that I really liked about Xam'd, was that there antagonists weren't some brainless screaming villains that had no real motives behind their actions, and they weren't the type of villains who were 'only doing evil because of their horrible past'. For example even though I hated the commander, I found myself pitying/sympathizing him in the end.
I can't be more specific than this, because I don't want to give the plot away.
The animation was fantastic. Especially the battle scenes. One movement just flowed into the next, and in my opinion looked kind of graceful. Also, the sceneries that were drawn each had their own feel in them that helped establish the mood, and each place evoked different emotions in you, and to some extent the characters as well. It was just flawless, it really brings animation to a whole different level.
Michiru Oshima has done it again. For those who don't know who Michiru Oshima is, she composed the music for Full Metal Alchemist.
I love the soundtrack, to the point where I actually have it on my iPod and frequently listen to it. It establishes the right mood for all the sceneries and has just the sound that Xam'd requires. If any other person composed the music, I'm almost positively sure that it wouldn't have the same impact and effect on the series.
The character designed slightly resembled Miyazaki's style of art. Also, Nakiami's character reminded me a bit of Nausicaa.
The characters in this show is what truly makes this anime a master piece. Each character is well developed and unique. The characters mature over time, and the relationships they establish with one another are strong and believable. The way they interact with one another provides entertaining results at times, due to their unique personalities.
Looking back, even Nakiami, who rarely exhibits emotions in the beginning of the series, and is kind of quiet, has her own feel that doesn't resemble anything like the traditional quiet apathetic girl you get in most animes.
Overall, this series was amazing. This is probably my favorite anime right now, and I have gone back to it several times, because it is a sheer pleasure to watch.
Eureka 7 meets Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and after a night of wild passion and lots of booze, the result is Xam’d. There are many similarities to those two shows plus the storywriters seemed to be drunk most of the time to really focus on what the heck the story is all about. Because let’s be honest; studio BONES simply sucks at storyboards.
And this is what actually ruins this show; what exactly is it about? Is it the lead male’s quest to find a way to control the symbiotic creature inside him? The lead girl’s attempt to save lives? Some war for whom gets to defeat whom? Hard to say; it could be all of that together. It looks simple in the beginning and it’s easy to follow up to a point but then they keep adding more and more and more side stories and secondary elements to the plot and they hardly try to explain them. What is even worse, is that it was not a problem with the duration of the show, but the mid episodes were very slow in progress to the point they ate up most of the time which could be used to subtly showcast everything. The scriptwriters had to turn the plot into turbo mode in the last third and since they had opened a hundred different things, nothing made sense and went by with just a vague passing. I mean, the characters seem to know what is going on because it’s their world and their terminology but the rest of us are kept in the dark all the way. Series like Neon Genesis did the same but you could still follow most of what was going on with the only blank spots being the character motives and the weird stuff in the finale. But at least it was extremely entertaining even without that. You don’t have that in Xamdou because it is not heavy on action or fan service; it’s mystery and adventure and unintentionally became cryptic as heck because BONES sucks at exposition.
You can always look for the answers on some wiki on the web but it’s just not the same because there is no established connection with most of what is going on. There are also many parts where the characters vaguely refer to all the events and vaguely hint what they are all about. The average viewer though will not have proper detective skills to figure it all out, nor will he even bother to do so. Sure, it is equally bad to have the characters breaking the fourth wall and explaining all to you in a forced monologue but THIS is equally bad, as it accepts from the viewer to memorize everything and even try to connect things on his own. Which may sound cool at first but it clearly doesn’t worth it by the end of the show as there are too many things going on at the same time and they all feel like they weren’t looked into as much as they should have. Plus, you probably don’t even care to find out.
The story begins with the lead male, Akiyuki, living a normal school life. At some point a kamikaze kid blows up and this mutating thing enters him, which turns him into a huge bioorganic beast. And then some dudes from a neighboring territory attack, he has to escape, starts losing his mind but is saved by, Nakiami, the lead female of the show, who takes him on her flying ship and together goes on a quest for a way to control his power and bring a stop to all the deaths of the affected people.
So far, so good; we have a very interesting beginning with a normal teenager getting superpowers, some sort of religious war going on, flying ships, and a quest for salvation. It is all easy to follow and to be frank, it is not something I have encountered in any other show with this exact blend of elements. It looked like from the start that it would be a lot more than some generic quest by a bunch of silly kids.
So the story continues by getting to know the characters more. The flying ship is in fact doing postal work on a continental scale, which is a fine excuse for them to get paid and looking for clues here and there. I mean most shows have the characters be full of magic money; no idea how they find the needed provisions to roam around. Anyways, it feels better than that excuse of surfing mercenaries on Eureka 7, and makes another allusion to Last Exile.
From here and up to the middle of the show the plot keeps going back and forth amongst numerous characters in different locations, fleshing them out to be more than NPCs offering short termed aid or importance to the plot and yet never clearly explaining why is everything happening. Or how. Or for what purpose.
And then we have a showdown of sorts amongst childhood friends the reason of which appears to be who gets to score with Haru, the heartbreaking girl… Hm, now that is just shallow. Anyways, this was the part where the story started to fall apart as the motives of the characters became harder and harder to follow. Why did that dude kill himself? Why are those zealot kids killing themselves when they could just plant bombs and escape to repeat the process and increase their chances in the war? Sure, they give vague hints but if you are not Sherlock, you will most likely miss the connection points.
Also, this is the part where the pace slooooows down a lot and far less interesting things are happening, or even make sense. But what did you expect if the main character gets amnesia? God how I hate that trope; it resets progress and eats up a whole bunch of episodes for no reason. Ok, maybe it made some reason in this case as Akiyuki was looking for the meaning in his life or something, but it also ate a lot of precious time and left everything else hanging out to dry.
The final episodes have this huge war going on, which by now makes no sense at all without reading a long wiki about the stuff they left out or your mother is Agatha Cristie. Plus, for a war the action part was quite short and random and didn’t even matter in the entire plot. In Evangelion, even if you didn’t get the story you would at least love the action but here it is all mambo-jumbo. So I must warn anyone who is interested in the show to NOT expect good action scenes. All the progress happens through dialogues as the pen is mightier than the sword. Plus, the sword in this series is goddamn ugly.
To be frank, I didn’t like the Xamdou transformations much; they looked like silly sponge creatures. Other shows with people turning to freaks have really cool looks, like in the case of Guyver or Tekkaman Blade. Here, it looks plain weird. It is unique in its own way of course but that doesn’t mean it’s appealing; it’s just memorable.
And the finale comes along and… nothing makes sense. Or it does if you read the wiki but at this point I didn’t care to find out because I had lost my interest. It felt like a big let down at how they wasted all those episodes on strolling aimlessly in the countryside and neglected to explain more of what is going on.
The story is quite interesting actually, but just like in Eureka 7 and Last Exile, the setting remains a big blur at many parts and you are left with a lot of blank spots in the end, which translates to bad storytelling. All that terminology and innuendos and areas and people and you hardy get half of what is going on.
I loved the artwork and the animation; they are very good most of the duration and almost of movie quality. Studio BONES never fails to deliver in general looks of any of its shows. What I disliked was the action parts, as the beasts and the fighting choreography looked silly to me. The music is fine too, with the main theme being very memorable. Unfortunately, the dialogues end up being the only thing that progresses the story, thus breaking the first rule of good storytelling “show, don’t tell”. Heck, one would wonder if they even “tell” it since it’s all so vague and cryptic.
Most characters are interesting as they all get fleshed out immensely throughout the show. Too bad the vague setting makes their motives weird and unsupported after awhile. Plus, as much as they get fleshed out, besides five all the rest end up being completely irrelevant to the main plot (the one in the ending that is, as very little makes sense in the second half) which eventually makes them all to be decorations and not active personalities that affect the events around them.
Down to it, all this blabber and silly fighting didn't get to me. It is not a good war drama; at least not compared to Legend of Galactic Heroes and Gundam 08th MS team. Its romantic sub-plots ends up being minor rouses while the world-building aspect is sacrificed considerably around dragged and autistic personal drama. It is not even that good as a journey of self-acknowledgement either, as many things are left to speculation, vague hints and some Buddhist type of life very few would bother to figure out. If you try to find similarities between this and Full Metal Alchemist, you will easily tell how it did a very bad job compared to that adventure because they lacked focus and didn’t notice the time restrictions until it was too late. Plus, despite its weird philosophy and themes around happiness and harmony of the soul, it sure didn't make me think or feel anything special as Neon Genesis, Serial Experiments Lain, Mind Game, Kaiba, or Tatami Galaxy did. So it’s all nothing but a pretty birthday box with a very beautiful cover and an expensive vase inside which someone dropped accidentally and thus when you open the box you find your gift to be in pieces.
They are nice looking pieces though.
I'll start by saying that, to my own regret, it took me over three years to actually watch this entire anime. Now, before that scares you off, hear me out.
I don't know what it is, but I have a sense for sad events, and I don't like really sad anime, so when I got this feeling that Xam'd was just going to be tragic, I could never muster the desire to make it more than one or two episodes in. Up until yesterday I had never watched past the third episode.
Don't make the same mistake I did. This anime is freaking beautiful. The animation is gorgeous, the character development, oh my word the character development is ridiculous. As far as being accurately tagged, I'd pretty much agree with all of them, including the romance tag. Although, for a chunk of the series the romance is more of a sub plot than a driving force. Also, while I won't spoil anything for you potential watchers, I will say this, for those who are asking if it's really sad...let's just say that I really hate sad anime, I even dropped Your Lie in April because I could sense the tragedy early on, so I wouldn't recommend an anime that's got a super sad ending, yet I'm recommending this.... :)
Seriously, don't do what I did. Don't put this anime off. If you are looking for an incredible story with a heartwarming, genuine romance subplot, look no further. I think each animes overall score is subjective, because each anime was created to do something different or specific, or was intended to make you feel a certain way or think about a certain concept. That being said. I give Xam'd a 9/10. No anime is perfect, and I will never give an anime an overal score of 10/10 because perfection is impossible. But I truly believe that Xam'd comes as close to perfection as possible in trying to achieve it's own specific purpose/goal.