Bounen no Xamdou – Episode 14

15 11 2008

Thoughts

After a long break (both in broadcast and longer in this blog), Xamdou/Xam’d is back.  The previous episode leaves us w/ Furuichi activating his Hiruko in preparation to, presumably, fight w/ Akiyuki.  This episode was about, well…. the fight.  Okay so that’s a poor summary, there was more then just the fight…. a lot more.

First off, we finally get to see Akiyuki in full-Xamdou form for the first time since episode 2.  In my opinion, the entire confrontation was rather… bizzare.  It might be that I haven’t seen Xamdou in a month, but it didn’t seem quite as powerful as the first reunion in episode 8.  I kinda expected a lot more attacks thrown between the two of them.  Alas it was primarily dialogue.

Furuichi’s attitude throughout the episode confused me.  Initially he was all about destroying Akiyuki so that he could have Haru to himself, but at the end (right before he performed ‘harikiri’) he was about to call him his best friend again.  Did that mean he felt remorse.  One potential theory is that before, Furuichi was letting jealousy and anger get the better of him, and his Hiruko took advantage of that.  After seeing Haru cry, he finally calms down.

I don’t know why I didn’t realize it before, but Xamdou hasn’t done a good job of conveying the emotions that the characters feel.  It might just be that in comparison to the summer series, Xamdou was brilliant, but now, in comparison to fall, it’s average.  On the whole, I did not expect the ending to be the way it was, this would’ve been a much better place to put the show in hiatus.

RATING: 7.5/10 (I was underwhelmed)
MID-SERIES RATING: 8.5/10

Advertisements




Bonen no Xamdou – Episode 07

2 09 2008

Summary

The episode starts with the crew of the postal ship getting their pay.  With them, Akiyuki gets his first check.  Afterwards, Akiyuki is talking with Akushiba and lamenting about how he’s caused nothing but trouble for Nakiami and Benikawa, and that he’s just happy getting paid anything.  Akushiba reminds him to shut up and accept his payment.

On Sentan Island, Furuichi and Haru are deployed along with the remaining ASP squad to take down the test-type Xamdou that escaped.  While the army has deployed at full force, Haru realizes that the Xamdou is not attacking back and she refrains from attacking.  In the meanwhile, Furuichi goes all out.  The Xamdou reaches the damn and looks out at a ocean to see a tall monolith with a large eye at the top.  Haru sees the monolith too, however, when she asks Furuichi about it, he doesn’t see anything out at sea.  At that moment the Xamdou sprouts wings and looks like he’s about to get away when Furuichi shoots its legs and the Xamdou goes down and begins to petrify.

On the postal ship, Akiyuki receives all the letters that Haru sent in the last episode. In the letter, Haru discloses how she joined the ASP Squad and that she’ll be deployed for Tsumebara pass in a few days.  She hoped that they could meet then.  

Haru is getting dropped off by Prois and the two are having a conversation.  Haru mentions how she felt the test-type Xamdou might’ve been pregnant, but Prois passes it off as Stockholm Syndrome

Akiyuki tries to get permission from Benikawa to go to Tsumebara pass. She allows him to leave, but forbids him from using the Beat Kayak.  He next goes to Nakiami for her permission.  While at first she’s against it, she eventually allows him on the condition that he takes Roppa with him.  Akiyuki leaves soon after with Roppa and a tracking device.

Haru and Furuichi are talking with Toujirou about Tsumebara Pass. (Furuichi looks like he’s trying to suck up to the general). Toujirou talks about how a battalion was lost at the pass, and that their goal is to find survivors.

Akiyuki is walking through a forest when he spots what looks like a completly petrified Humanform.  Nearby there is a wanderer who is collecting flowers.  Akiyuki asks the man whether he’s headed in the correct direction to go to Tsumebara.  However, when he mentions Tsumebara, the man goes nuts and transforms into a Humanform and starts to attack Akiyuki.  During the fight, the tracker attached Roppa breaks.  Akiyuki starts to engage the Humanform with his Xamdou powers, however, the fight is cut short when a young girl and her father(?) petrify the Humanform.  From the looks of it, the father has Xamdou powers as well.  Akiyuki spends the night at their place.

On the postal ship, Nakiami decides to look for Akiyuki after she lost track of him and leaves the ship in the Beat Kayak…

Thoughts

So this episode brings the biggest similarity to Eureka Seven thus far.  We have two factions starting to emerge, one who is for the destruction of all Humanforms/Xamdous, and the other who wishes to understand them and cooperate.  Sounds familiar to the conflict with the Coralians?

I really like how Haru has not been the stereotypical helpless girl, rather she’s getting an important role as someone who seems to be able to communicate w/ Xamdous/Humanforms.  Furuichi on the other hand, is going in the complete opposite direction, I definitely see conflicts emerging between him and Akiyuki later on, maybe as soon as the next episode.

As much as I notice how there is no “romance” in the official genre listing, I can’t ignore the signs of a love triangle forming (maybe even a quadrilateral).  We have hints of Akiyuki/Nakiami, with the head bump scene (which was cute =D), and even more hints of Akiyuki/Haru, with the tone of the letters.  Also to add to the mix is how Furuichi seems to be flustered around Haru and how he gets frustrated when she mentions Akiyuki.  With Furuichi, Haru, and Akiyuki all headed towards Tsumebara, and with Nakiami tailing close behind, I wouldn’t be surprised if all 4 end up meeting by next episode.

9.5/10 (solid plot and character buildup)





Bonen no Xamdou – Episode 06

21 08 2008

Summary

The episode starts with Furuichi learning how to control one of the ASP suits.  It takes him a couple of tries but he manages to move the arms.  In the waiting room, Haru is called in for her test.

Back on the postal ship, the crew is flying over an air-raided territory when they notice a smoke plume ahead.  Benikawa orders Nakiami and Akiyuki to go out and investigate.  Nakiami insists on going by herself but Benikawa doesn’t trust that she won’t get distracted.  Before Akiyuki can board, Nakiami departs.  Akushiba throws Akiyuki off the ship to catch up with Nakiami.  He manages to grab a hold of one of her wings, and the two of them head off.

At the location where the smoke came from, they notice many dead Humanform weapons, and at least one semi-working one.  Nakiami lands and immediatly confronts the Humanform.  It becomes apparent that she isn’t trying to kill it, however she gets hit, gets caught in the Humanform’s continuing petrification, and Akiyuki goes in to try and save her.  In the fray, his right arm bindings come off activating his Xamdou powers, however, it’s limited to his right arm.   Akiyuki manages to control it and begins fighting with his sword arm.  He frees Nakiami and tries to kill the Humanform.  Nakiami tries to implore him but it’s too late, the humanform petrifies.  Akiyuki tries to defend his action but Nakiami reminds him that he promised to try and protect all living things, and asked him whether he thought that Humanforms didn’t count in that promise.

Back on Sentan Island, Haru and Furuichi both passed their exams and are to start training soon.  They get dropped off back in their neighborhood.  Haru comments on how she always wanted to leave the island, and that the military might be the only option now.  When Haru gets home, she finds Akiyuki’s letter and reads it.  Feeling better, she mails a stack of letter she’s written to Akiyuki, praying that one will eventually reach him.

At the base, experiments are underway with the large petrified Xamdou.  They try to run an electrical current to attempt to revive it. It appears to be a failure, but underwater, part of the stone starts to come off. 

On the ship, Akuyuki inquires with Akushiba about the Humanforms.  Akushiba, while being dodgy, does mention one detail about how Humanforms all used to be living creatures before they were converted.

On Sentan Island, Haru shows Akiyuki’s letter to his parents, they’re relieved to know that he’s alive and asks Haru to keep the letter as it’s addressed to her.  After Haru leaves, Akiyuki’s father talks with the mother about how his work as a doctor in the Battle of Barador led to the creation of the first Humanforms.  He laments that what happened Akiyuki might be divine retribution.

The next day, at the base, Haru, Furuichi, and other new recruits begin training with mock ASP suits.  Meanwhile underground, the Xamdou has revived and starts to escape.  He manages to get through the first and second barrier, but appears to have lost it’s energy before the final barrier.  However, it releases what looks like a bubble towards the barrier. When the bubble touches the wall, it explodes taking out a good portion of the base.  The explosion knocks everyone’s ASP suits out of commision except for Haru and Furuichi.  They are left in charge of saving everyone…

Thoughts

So it appears that the 5 episodes of buildup has finally started to let off as we are shown two critical moments.  One is when Akiyuki uses his Xamdou powers under his own consciousness. The other is the truth behind Humanforms.

It was also good to see a slight return to action, and looks like next week will have even more of it.  We’re left with quite a cliffhanger, and we get to see Haru and Furuichi in action soon.  As for the speculation that Akiyuki and Haru will reunite on opposite sides of the battle field… I don’t buy it.  The only way for it to happen is if that postal creates a third faction in an attempt to stop wars. (Gundam SEED much?).  Anyway, we’re only 6 episodes in, there are 20 episodes left… plenty of things can happen.

8.5/10





Bonen no Xamdou – Episode 01

21 07 2008

SUMMARY

Members of a ship a flying lazily through the air, when they start getting tracked by Nothern ships.  Realizing their predicament, the crew start to fly towards the nearest Free Zone colony on Sentan Island.  Quiet-girl, Nakiami, flys ahead in her own pod.

On Sentan Island, Akiyuki Takehara overslept and is trying to rush to get ready for school.  In order to make it in time, he purposely forgets to take his father’s lunch.  However, his bike breaks before he can get away.  His mother catches him and forces him to take his father’s bento.  Meanwhile, Haru Nishimura and Furuichi Teraoka are practicing judo(?), with Haru easily taking out Furuichi.  The two finish and get prepared for school

Akiyuki decides to take a shortcut, and leaves his bike to jump over some fences.  Haru and Furuichi walk by and notice Akiyuki’s bike.  The two make bets on whether he can make it in time or not.  Akiyuki reaches his father’s place and wakes him up.  His father, a lazy bum of a doctor, tries to tell Akiyuki some words of wisdom but Akiyuki is gone.

Akiyuki races and manages to catch the bus in time.  An officer is making sure that all the students have armbands.  Akiyuki gets in line for boarding behind a white-haired girl w/o a school uniform and an armband.  Deciding to be nice, Akiyuki covers for her by lending her his armband and convincing the officer to let him on board. The girl thanks him  With everyone on board, the bus departs.

In Sentan military headquarters, they pick up on various ship approaching the island and take countermeasures.  The school bus arrives and everyone starts to get off the bus.  When the bus is nearly empty the white haired girl hits a detonator and the bus explodes.  After recovering, Akiyuki looks back at the bus to see what the hell happened.  He sees a light floating above the wreckage.  The light reacts and enters his right arm and Akiyuki writhes in pain.  Before he gets a chance to recover he sees the white haired girl stumbling in the wreckage.  He goes to help her, and finds that she’s bleeding yellow blood.  She apologizes for having done what she did, and says that only Akiyuki can “save the lost memory of Xamdou”.  With this, she touches his forehead, and almost immediatly, a mask engulfs his face.

Akiyuki begins to panic, but there’s nothing he can do.  He transforms into a white creature.  A military officer approaches the wreckage and spots the monster.  Haru, also trying to see what happened, spots it too.  The officer fires and the monster falls.  Haru hears a voice that sounds like Akiyuki inside her head saying that he doesn’t want to die.

Meanwhile, a ship flies over and drops something above the wreckage…

THOUGHTS

First and foremost…. best opening for an anime of the year so far.  I’ve seen it like 25 times, and I can’t get enough of it.

As for the episode itself, it was somewhat confusing… but now I want to know what the hell is going on.  The show has striking similarities to Eureka Seven, namely character designs and production quality.  I think I’d be better noting the differences between the two rather then the similarities.

Xamdou doesn’t have the same “hip” feel that Eureka Seven had, rather it’s more of a fantasy feel.  While Eureka Seven was more of a modern sci-fi, Xamdou appears to be steampunk.  As someone best put it, “A threesome between Nausicaa, Last Exile, and Eureka Seven”.

The best thing that Xamdou has going for it, is the character interactions.  They aren’t exaggerated, rather, they’re completely honest and realistic.  You don’t unnecessary drama coming from divorced parents, no sexual tensions between two close friends.  It’s how normal people would react to events that happened.

By blogging this, it means that I’ve dropped World Destruction. Also, Bonen no Xamdou has an english title: Xam’d: Lost Memories. However, I’ll keep referring to this show in it’s Japanese name. Why? Because I like that name better.

Overall, didn’t grab me the same what Eureka Seven’s 1st episode did, but it shows plenty of promise.

8.5/10

In case you didn’t notice, If I blog 1st episodes, I’ll post 30 pictures instead of the usual 20