Third Movement: City of Two
I think it’s remarkable how anime openings show so many things, but since they lack context, they end up being “oh cool” moments.
Aside from that, we pick back up in episode three with the revelation that Ayato has just made. Never mind that he’s consciously taken control of a giant robot (?) that hatched from an egg that’s sitting in the middle of a room that looks like an outdoor dreamscape. The fact that Maya Kamina has blue blood is still what dominates the scene. And she speaks to her son telepathically, speaking about how she’s been waiting for Ayato’s blood to awaken.
When one of the Dolems breaks into the Room of Rah, Maya simply floats onto its head. Haruka runs toward the RahXephon (calling out “Ayato” not “Kamina”), only to be attacked. The RahXephon defends Haruka, sealing her in a protective ball and Reika appears on the RahXephon’s shoulder. Maya calls Reika “Ixtli.”
Note how the Mulians call the RahXephon simply “the Xephon.” They leave off the Rah part, even though they know that’s part of the
Reika bids the RahXephon to sing “so that all will become one.” Then one of the Dolems attacks and Reika is (seemingly) vaporized. Ayato’s anger forces him to attack the Dolem, ripping out it’s throat. Somewhere else, an odd singing figure, chokes and dies. A corridor opens in the sky above the RahXephon, getting outside “the Barrier.”
Maya remarks that Ayato will return to her without fail. “With Ixtli.”
Ayato awakens on a shore, seeing the RahXephon crouching over him. He sees a massive wall before noticing Haruka. She calls the wall Tokyo Jupiter and remarks that it was his whole world until yesterday. When Haruka jumps on the edge of a boat to see something, Ayato follows, knocking them both in the water. Haruka is actually overjoyed.
Haruka confirms that the outside world is still intact, even if they are in a ghost town. Try as he might, Ayato can’t call home. They both need dry clothes and Haruka rejects Ayato’s choices, picking new things for him. They look through an abandoned grocery store for supplies and Haruka warns Ayato off plastic packages, even though they should be good for three years past the date. Haruka check the date and says “no one’s told you yet.” While listening to the radio, an announcer mentions that it’s well past 2015, which Ayato is sure is the current date.
He’s wrong. It’s not even the month he thinks it is. Time in Tokyo Jupiter is different. Outside, the year is 2027, Ayato is twelve years off.
Ayato goes off by himself, exploring the empty town in search of his own answers. Signs note that Tokyo has vanished. Suddenly, a pay phone rings, even though there’s no power. Maya warns Ayato to be careful because they will make him forget and hate her. Ayato charges past a fence and finds a gorge separating him from the outer wall of Tokyo Jupiter.
Haruka catches up with Ayato and says the wall is ten kilometers away. She doesn’t have a way to send Ayato back–the energy required is colossal. Enraged, Ayato takes Haruka’s bike, tells her to get on and rides quite fast. Haruka leans her head close to Ayato’s back, almost peaceful.
A little while later, Haruka finds a small cat, which she is quick to care for. She begs Ayato to let her keep it. The cat runs out and when Haruka catches him, she hears planes overhead and sets fire to the boat. She needed to make a signal somehow and the next day, the Lilia Lytviak arrives. Haruka finally introduces herself, saying she is a captain in TERRA. (Aren’t you glad I used her name from the beginning instead of saying “the spy” or something like that?)
Another fun note, even though the ending credits stay the same, showing Quon, the girl from the very first scene, sitting in Ayato’s room with a bird, the music lightly changes. And Quon, well…
Instead of an opening, we get a synopsis of everything that’s happened so far. At the end, the narrator (Haruka) says Ayato must now fight against the Mu and Tokyo, where his mother, friends, and the only life he’s ever known remain trapped. It sucks to be Ayato at this point, and he is upset by everything that’s happened. What makes Ayato distinct is that he approaches everything with reason, especially for a teenager who’s suddenly found himself in a world that (he thinks) shouldn’t exist.
An albino man looks at the RahXephon and muses about it while a group of Naval officers prepare to take custody of it.
Elsewhere, Quon touches the RahXephon, acting like it gives her a sense of peace. The cat arrives, getting her attention.
Ayato has some blood taken while Kunugi arrives, mentions that a cat has illegally been brought on board. Kunugi tells Ayato to be sure to reset his watch. Kunugi negotiates what to do with the RahXephon and Ayato, eventually deciding they’ll be separated. This is largely due to the Federation having enough specimens of Tokyo Jovians. Someone else has come from Tokyo then? Who could it be?
One of my favorite scenes: Haruka looking for the cat, Buchi. “Buchi, Buchi, where are you? Meow! Meow!” Ayato calls for her attention and she answers, “Meow?” Ayato asks why he has to reset his watch and Haruka shows her watch. It has local and Tokyo time on it; they run at different speeds, showing that it’s not just a time shift separating Tokyo from the rest of the world. (I did say that time was important, and we’re just getting started.)
Elvy interrupts chewing out Haruka since she’s the only survivor of the attack on Tokyo. Apparently, Haruka was willing to deceive friends just to make sure Operation Overlord (the attack, along with the extraction of Ayato and the RahXephon) happened.
Near the ship’s barber shop, Ayato meets Quon. She speaks in riddles and her first is saying a barber pole used to be a symbol for a field hospital. Quon also calls Ayato “Ollin” just like the Mulians. Ayato sees the RahXephon being taken away, meets Isshiki, the albino. Ayato essentially says the RahXephon is his and wants to know what’s happening to it. The ship leaves Ayato behind, but takes the RahXephon.
And there’s a Dolem underwater.
Haruka takes Ayato to his room and starts explaining what’s going on. Ayato gets mad at Haruka for looking down on him. The bloodtest shows that Ayato has “the Mu phase” and, as soon as Haruka is called away, Ayato is sealed in the room, a room designed to kill Mulians if they try to escape. Haruka is desperate to get him freed, but Kunugi looks down at Ayato’s sketching. Quon speaks in more riddles and Kunugi determines they are about to be attacked by that Dolem.
The Dolem attacks TERRA throws everything they can at it. Elvy can’t go up, since her plane has no weapons and is in lockdown. As usual (they say as much), even the drone fighters are outmatched. When the Dolem attacks the ship directly, Quon is unconcerned. Ayato starts banging to get out of his room since it’s locked. He decides Haruka has trapped him and says, “To hell with the correct time.”
The RahXephon rises on its own, looking to find Ayato, ignoring the Dolem. Quon sees a vision of Ayato’s first meeting with Reika Mishima just as Ayato vanishes into the RahXephon. The RahXephon then attacks the Dolem, drenching everything in blue blood. Kunugi uses the scene to take custody of the RahXephon back. As the RahXephon is lowered into a large vat of water–inside a pyramid!–a scientist watches, saying, “Welcome back, Ollin.”
Items of note:
These two episodes, show two very distinct types of storytelling. City of Two is largely a slow-paced episode, dealing with Ayato’s separation from Tokyo Jupiter and everything he’s ever known. His Own Watch is set up in line with a typical mech anime plot; it reminds me a lot of the episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion where Asuka is introduced.
With comparisons in mind, we do have a lot of similarities at this point. Ayato is called to pilot a mech, much like Shinji in Eva. There’s also the (currently) Misato-like Haruka and the Rei-like Quon. Kunugi appears to be much like Gendo Ikari at this stage. Buchi and even be looked at as RahXephon‘s Pen-Pen. Without giving things away, aside from Ayato and Shinji, the only other comparison that actually works is that of Buchi and Pen-Pen. Haruka, Quon, and Kunugi are in truth nothing like Misato, Quon, and Gendo.
This is especially true of Haruka, though you’ll be more convinced of the comparison before it’s disproven. Haruka is caring of Ayato, this teenage boy she hardly knows. She calls him “Ayato”; he calls her “Miss Haruka.” Someone is overstepping her bounds as far as politeness in Japanese society goes. She is also fiercely defensive of him, even when she has no reason to be defensive. For a woman who is playful with her friends, like Elvy, Haruka is quite playful with Ayato, even though he just thinks she’s scatter-brained.
And let’s not forget those Dolems. They’re rock, yet biological, they sing (as does the RahXephon), and when they die ethereal figures disperse into painful nothingness. It’s odd, it’s weird, but that’s what happens in RahXephon. Think about that and keep it in mind, especially since the RahXephon will be fighting more of them, usually dispatching them smoothly. Not yet though.
Next, in the Fifth Movement, we get to meet a lot of characters. No robot fighting, but this isn’t actually a mech show. It’s something else, but we can’t start finding the big clues without building a supporting cast. Don’t worry, if nothing else, you’ll like Megumi and her Uncle Rikudo.