RahXephon: Nirai-Kanai

Just to note, I have been doing my little analysis of RahXephon watching the English dub and a few scenes in Japanese.  I’ve seen all the episodes up to this point in Japanese when I was first introduced to the series, but anything from here would be new territory for me watching in the show’s native tongue.  I’ve wanted to do this for some time, but watching as intently as I have been, I know this is the perfect opportunity to maybe find things I might have missed.  One thing is Bahbem’s motivations (I know, he hasn’t shown up yet), but there’s another element involving Quon that I’m looking for, since multiple sources claim it when I’ve never seen evidence toward it.  Talk about being vague.

Why don’t I get back to the task at hand?  We’re at a critical point in Ayato’s tale, the point where we find out if it’s possible for Ayato to really understand the world he’s found himself in.  I’ll warn you know, there are A LOT of characters introduced here and they all play a significant role in things to come.  We won’t get to the end without them, so bear with me, I’m going to be describing a lot of of people.

Fifth Movement: Nirai-Kanai

So Yagumi gives a briefing about the recent battle and a crystallization going on with the RahXephon.  So’s the young guy who serves as Kunugi’s right hand.  He seems like a pencil pusher and is a bit of a joyous yes man.  But it’s hard to dislike So.  Kunugi admits he doesn’t like dealing with politics, but it’s part of his duty.  Isshiki wonders where Ayato is, since Ayato and the RahXephon have bonded.

Ayato’s getting a medical exam.  The first thing we notice, now that we see him without a shirt, is that there’s a series of markings on Ayato’s chest.  the ever-curious Itsuki (that’s the doctor, not the albino, as they will share many scenes) watches footage of the tests.  Quon’s having the same tests done AND she has a similar kind of mark on her abdomen, though hers runs along her left side, while Ayato’s is on the center of his abdomen.  When Itsuki looks  at Quon, you can tell he’s got something on his mind; he’s looking at her with far more than medical curiosity, though he is hiding it well.

(Oddly, the subtitle for this episode is “On Earth As It Is In Heaven.”  This is something Ayato says when he first marvels at the canvas at the end of his first scene in episode one.  The phrase oddly parallels the motto of Eva‘s NERV, “God’s in His Heaven, All’s Right With the World.”  Fitting since this is the episode where we meet the staff of TERRA and start getting to know them.)

Ayato stands alone, listening to “Gliding Dance of the Maidens.”  This is a piece of music that is used prolifically in RahXephon, so it’s always good to point out, especially since it is not one of the myriad of themes written by Ichiko Hashimoto for the series.  So kindly leads Ayato around, bringing him to meet the TERRA staff.

Among them, a twenty-something girl with very short hair (Kim) remarks to a younger girl, that Ayato and Kunugi regard each other like they were rival boys in school.  And she things Ayato’s kind of cute.

So “translates” Kunugi’s declarations about Ayato and his well-being, trying to make Ayato feel welcome.  Kunugi tells Haruka to show Ayato around, but when she tries to take his hand, her pulls it out of her reach, saying, “Don’t touch me.”  Haruka is quiet and lowers her head; it’s the quietest she’s been yet.  As the young girl with Kim watches Ayato, Dr. Itsuki comes in, kindly offering to take Ayato to his new home.  Haruka is even more crushed, but says nothing and leaves.  So recruits the young girl, Megumi, for a secret assignment.

Dr. Itsuki talks with Ayato about Churchward’s Mu and their song.  They meet up with Quon, who calls Dr. Itsuki “Brother.”  Itsuki shows Ayato Nirai-Kanai, Nirai being an island with shrines and artifacts, Kanai being an artificial port built to explore those ruins and serve as a maritime base.  Itsuki tells Ayato that it (the RahXephon) “belongs to you.”  He muses about Kunugi’s home, remarking that Ayato has the wrong idea about the Commander.

Ayato next meets Nanamori, Itsuki’s assistant and RahXephon‘s resident eye candy.  (Her first frame is a fan service shot of her cleavage.)  They conduct research on music (In a show about music?  Really?)  Nanamori likes it when Ayato mistakes her for Itsuki’s wife.

Haruka and Elvy get back to their friendship, which is almost a rivalry, trying to eat the best pieces of food and drink more early in the day.

Quon brings Ayato a case filled with things for him to use.  Ayato has practically no clothes to speak of, so it’s a nice gift.  I wonder what she’s given him…  There are holes on the side, holes Quon says not to cover, smiling as she does so.

As Nanamori, Itsuki, and Ayato reach a steep road leading to a traditional Japanese house, Megumi comes walking from the opposite direction, meeting up with them.  She’s frustrated and late.  Ayato is staying at her–no her Uncle’s house.  And Itsuki calls them a young couple, embarrassing them both.  I just realized what an important joke this is, a joke that has a big plot payoff.

Megumi bought a lot of sweets for Ayato.  They speak with “Uncle” Rikudo, who wears a kimono and fashions traditional ink.  He says there’s time before dinner and has Megumi show Ayato around.  “Remember what I always tell you,” Rikudo says.  Neither Ayato or Megumi likes the idea, but they go anyway.  When Ayato threatens not to live with Megumi, she says he can’t leave, not because of something she does.  Megumi literally falls over before making her point.

Rain comes, forcing them to retreat, running into a nearby shop.  Megumi introduces Ayato (and me) to ramune.  Ayato looks at Megumi’s figure.  She’s a kid and soaked, so it might be because of the rain, or it might be because Ayato is a teenage boy.  It’s a subtlety about RahXephon that makes things seem more real and natural.  He offers Megumi his handkerchief and she chews him out for acting familiar, mentioning that her older sister lives with her too, “so don’t even thing about sneaking in.”

Passing schoolgirls call Megumi a school phobic girl.  They are coming from school and Megumi isn’t.  Plus, Megumi works for TERRA as well, so it’s not like she’s a slacker by any means.  The words still hurt Megumi, making her quite angry.  When Ayato mentions that she has a place where she belongs, Megumi sees Ayato framing an image and they discuss Tokyo Jupiter and life there.  Ayato is offered soem of Megumi’s ramune, but the marble in the bottle gets in the way.  There went that indirect kiss.  The sun comes out again.

In the bag Quon prepared is an odd robe and–Buchi!  Buchi runs off just in time for Elvy to get home.  Haruka corrects Elvy saying, “This is not your home, okay?!”  They are both drunk out of their minds, though Elvy more.  Haruka drops Elvy to catch Buchi, overjoyed to see the small cat again.  Ayato sees Miss Haruka and figures it out: Megumi’s older sister is Haruka Shitow.  Ayato kindly welcomes Haruka home.  Haruka accepts, presenting Buchi as a peace offering.

As Ayato fights off Elvy’s drunken advances, Rikudo asks Ayato to come with him.  Rikudo tells Ayato to call him Uncle.  Ayato asks what Rikudo tells Megumi: “Don’t do things to other people that you wouldn’t want done to you.”  Then Rikudo has Ayato hang something by the entrance, a resident plate with the name “Kamina Ayato” on it.

While So watches the RahXephon return to normal, Megumi looks at a photo of everyone in TERRA, focusing on So, who is leaning on her shoulder.  This is a central point of Megumi’s story, everything she will go through is set up in this episode.  Ayato frames Megumi, acting like he might paint her and she draws the curtains.

Rikudo is called by Kunugi who presumably is asking how Ayato is settling in.  Elsewhere Itsuki undresses his sister and muses how cherry trees blossom red from the dead buried underneath, but Kunugi’s trees blossom a brilliant blue.  “I wonder what kind of people might be buried underneath.”  This is one weird family.

Closing thoughts:  This episode could be called “the Megumi episode,” but that wouldn’t be fair.  One of the major subplots of RahXephon is Megumi dealing with being a young girl, the younger sister to a spy, working for a military organization, and having to put up with Ayato.  Another major theme expressly explored here is how Haruka’s heart can be crushed and how easily it can also be restored.  A solid introduction is given to weird trifecta of Sayoko Nanamori and Quon and Dr. Itsuki Kisuragi; I’ll tell you now, there are two stories going on with those three, and you won’t guess where either of those stories will go.  Finally, we start to see how other characters react to Kunugi.  So far, we’ve only seen how Ayato sees the Commander, but a new picture is being put together, one where there are many people who see this man as a good and kind figure. (I told you he wasn’t like Gendo Ikari; Gendo’s 100% an ass.)

For now, I’ll leave you to wonder what else might have been sown in the story.  Next, we’ll get more mech fighting and meet two more characters, a wily reporter and the head of TERRA.


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