RahXephon: Obliterated Cities

Here’s a new treat: Pictures!  I’m going to try to post a few pics so I can make my points a little easier.  If you see what I see, I think I’ll make more sense, or you can tell me where I’ve gone wrong.  Not a lot of pictures, though, just enough to make a better show of things.Sixth Movement: Obliterated Cities

Last time, I mentioned the idea of “the Megumi episode.”  This time, we firmly have the Kim episode.  Everyone is motivated differently in RahXephon and Kim is fueled by revenge.  Today, she gets to fight the Dolem that killed her parents.  It’s a shocking image to see the ground glow and all manner of things get sucked inside.

Kim finds Ayato and Megumi fighting about odd ways of eating things.  Kim introduces herself to Ayato and knows exactly who he is (she thinks) and where he’s come from (she’s right about that one).  When she says he’s the pilot of the secret weapon, Ayato denies it, saying he’ll never fight again.  Silly Ayato, don’t you know this is a mech show?

Military exercises are on the rise and TERRA director Dr. Watari Shirow appears with Kunugi to put the public at ease.  The TERRA team watches the news conference.  A reporter named Futagami asks about the Federation ship that was supposed to go to Narai to collect something, yet returned from its trip with no cargo.  (Said cargo actually flew off, killed a Dolem at sea and was taken into the care of TERRA.  Remember episode 4?) Kunugi says it’s a matter for the Federation, but Futagami presses on, saying the ship must have carried TERRA’s new secret weapon.  Watari acts surprised and says “Well, that’s news to me.”

We have two important characters introduced here, so let’s get to know them.  First is Watari Shirow.  He looks grim, wears that odd eyepiece, which is a lot like half a pair of sunglasses, but he’s actually quite lighthearted.  We’ll see that he’s exuberant about making his employees happy and always bringing them souvenirs.

There’s a visual clue with him as well, so I’ll go ahead and state it.  There is a feature that Watari shares with only one other character in the show.  I won’t say what character or feature for now, but when the time comes, this little detail defines a lot about RahXephon.

Next is the reporter Jouji Futagami.  He’s a slacker and unkempt and the comparisons to Peter Falk’s Columbo aren’t without reason.  He acts like he doesn’t know things when he’s quite brilliant.  As I’ve already noted, he usually comes to characters with questions, but their phrasing suggests he already knows the true answers, regardless of what he’s told.

Futagami.  He’s smarter than he looks.  In fact, he’s smarter than that.  Lucky for us, he has a sense of humor too.

The Dolem from the opening scene has drawn a Nazca line, gathering TERRA’s attention.  Dr. Itsuki briefs that the aria recorded from the new Dolem, matches a recording from years earlier.  This Dolem has killed six million so far and it’s a number that excites Ayato; until recently he thought there were only twenty-three million people total.  He says this to Kim, who starts to remember the past and she tells him to get out with the RahXephon, even though he’s still against it.  They argue, totally shutting down the briefing in the process.  Eventually, Dr. Itsuki tells them to go stand in the hallway.

Megumi tells Ayato that Kim’s parents were killed by a Dolem and she wants revenge.  Kim mentions the subject to So, but he refuses to let her go after the Dolem for that reason.  Dr. Itsuki asks Kim to analyze the aria from the recent Dolem.

We next see a large engraving that has a Mayan aesthetic, but clearly shows the RahXephon.  Three men stand, looking at it, discussing.  “It’s taken forty years to make this a reality,” says the middle figure.  This old man is Lord Bahbem and he acts with authority over his guests, Watari and Kunugi, giving them his “support.”  Take a look at Bahbem for future reference.  There will be a quiz:

We see Kim as a young girl, haunted by her parents saying goodbye.  She listens to the aria and reflects on how she’s had to grow cold.  Quon finds her on the train and admires Kim’s “music box,” taking the headphones away so she can listen for herself.  (This is a running thing with Quon, as she also did this to Kunugi in the opening scene of episode one.)  Kim admits she was only supposed to deliver the aria, not take a copy for herself, but Quon starts talking in riddles again.

Ayato–in his nifty new TERRA piloting uniform–jumps into the RahXephon for some tests.  Nanamori and Itsuki discuss how their using Ayato to perform tests, tests Ayato would not approve of if he knew they were going on.  But Itsuki isn’t going to tell Ayato and he knows Nanamori won’t tattle on him either.

Back with Kim, she gets a message from Megumi, checking on her.  When Kim looks at a music box, she remembers how the Dolem destroyed Sydney, Australia while her parents were there.  The relatives who took care of her discussed how someone else show take care of the survivors, like Kim, because they don’t want to.  A delivery arrives and it’s the music box, sent as a birthday present, but transforming into the final message she’ll ever get from her parents.  Using the cue, “message,” Kim uses the pattern of the aria to figure out where the Dolem will attack next.  Sou is impressed by this, saying it’s too dangerous, but he’s currently the commander and approves the mission.  Kim gives Sou a sweet little kiss for his kindness.

Waiting in the Dolem’s path, Elvy and Haruka debate Haruka being a spy and why she had to bring back a boy from Tokyo Jupiter.  Haruka jabs that Elvy had her hands all over that boy not too long ago, propositioning him.  Haruka even jokes that Elvy has put in a transfer request.

The team detects the Dolem’s approach and sets Ayato into action.  The USDF tanks attack, but are only drawn into the ground, along with everything else.  The Dolem attacks with brute force, but the RahXephon eventually starts fighting back, motivated by Ayato’s determination.  Ayato sees Reika’s scarf and starts being drawn into the ground, which is actually phase space.

In a flashback to the afternoon, Kim approaches Ayato, who sits with a blank sketchbook.  Kim asks why Ayato changed his mind about piloting, wondering if it’s revenge.  He says it’s because he can pilot it and he wants to do what he’s capable of.

Near Kim, a sketch of Reika is shown.  Ayato sees a watery vision of Reika who pulls Ayato back into the cockpit.  The RahXephon flies out of the ground and it’s pissed.

The massive Dolem tries to tackle the RahXephon but collides with the titan and explodes in a spray of blue blood.  Stupid Dolem, tricks are for instrumentalists.

Later, Ayato finds a note for Kim (“Thank you-K”) and he smiles.  Kim holds the aria recording, tells herself as an adult and as a child happy birthday, then breaks the stick, sealing her revenge.

Today’s lesson? First of all, this is the Kim episode.  We start knowing next to nothing about her and we end, knowing a great deal about Kim.  In two episodes, Ayato has gained two friends, both of which he starts out at odds with.

The big thing about this episode is the collateral damage caused by the Dolems.  How many people want revenge on this horrible monstrosities?  Plenty.  How many will get it?  Kim.

Kim has a dark state of mind, which becomes more upbeat by the end of the episode.  This is a distinct contrast to most anime character development, since Kim will be with us for the duration.  The biggest contribution Kim will serve is to accelerate the Megumi subplot, specifically by developing things established in this episode.

Before leaving this episode behind, ask yourself this: Why does an old man have a large engraving of the RahXephon with Mayan aesthetics?


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