RahXephon: Sonata of Recollection

When last we left Narai-Kanai, Ayato had just remembered “The Fate of Katun” all by himself.  And there was that whole spirited forth thing, too.

Today, let’s learn about our fearless leader, Jin Kunugi.

Tenth Movement: Sonata of Recollection

Wasting no time, we get straight to the fighting.  Between the RahXephon using that light shield as a blade and all the missiles Alpha Squadron has, the poor Dolem doesn’t have a chance.

When Haruka mentions to Kunugi that Ayato has gotten rid of all his doubts about fighting, Kunugi mentions that no one is without doubts.  Quon arrives to play violin for Kunugi and it is a sad song she plays.

A month passes and the Mulians have been quiet.  Sou cheerfully reports this to Kunugi, hoping the peaceful days will last.  Kunugi says Sou is being too optimistic.  Kunugi is going off duty for the rest of the day, as he looks at an envelope with the name Mariko in the corner.  On the way out, Kunugi runs into Watari, who’s on his way to the Great Mu Joint Memorial Service Preliminary Meeting (a title everyone has problems saying).  Watari says it’s a special day for Kunugi,so he should take it easy.

While Ayato and Megumi are walking around, they see Quon, who falls into her usual greeting of “Ollin.”  Megumi asks about the word, having never heard it before.  Quon says she forgot something at “Jin’s,” but Ayato and Megumi have no idea who Jin is.

Quon’s fan club (Yomoda and Gomi–they work at TERRA, apparently being paid to be in love with Quon) asks Megumi about flowers and candy, wondering if girls like that sort of thing.  She thanks them and holds out her hand, mock expecting a gift.  They mention that she’s got Ayato and the two of the freak out.  After some snide remarks from Isshiki and a greeting from Sou, Kim reveals that Jin is Commander Kunugi’s first name.

Itsuki calls Ayato and asks him to come over.  Megumi is assigned by Sou to escort Ayato.

Kim and Sou discuss how Quon is neither military, nor TERRA personnel.  Ayato falls in the same category, having a special ability in piloting the RahXephon.  (Yet, Quon is also Ollin and has that black egg…)

At home, Kunugi listens to the voice of a child saying how much she loves playing the violin, even though she’s lonely without her Daddy. The girl looks forward to her Daddy coming to her next recital and might even have a present for him.  Then, static.

Itsuki has Ayato listen to music that Quon has been playing.  The recording apparently makes flowers lively and bear fuller color.  In the group that has been subjected to Quon’s music, their petals have turned a brilliant blue.  Ayato says it’s beautiful music, but listening to it makes you feel sadder and sadder.  It has a sense of dissonance.  We see Kunugi walking past places that are full of light and life, all while Quon’s sad music plays.

Kunugi picks out a nice watch from a jeweler, just in time for Futagami to appear.  When Futagami asks to see the same watch, he’s shocked by how much Kunugi just paid for it.

Itsuki finds Quon crouched over the music she’s been playing.  She says there’s something wrong with the music and Itsuki agrees, saying the Ollin thought the same thing.  She also says that “Ollin and Quon are alike,” and she worries about Jin.

Futagami ambushes Kunugi again, after picking out a plush doll.  Futagami mentions that there’s still time before it leaves dock.  Kunugi stops to hear what Futagami has to say.  First, the reporter mentions the same meeting Watari has gone to–Kunugi is again the only one who can say the full title.  Next, Futagami says that the war with the Mu started when America fired the first shots and, because of that, is only a shadow of its former self.  Rumor says the Americans acted independently, but another rumor says someone else was behind it all, someone from the former National Defense.  The villain dumped the blame on a subordinate and vanished, leaving the lesser man in a terrible situation.

But there’s more!  The man who attacked the Mu was the subordinate, even though he didn’t know what he was attacking with at the time.  It was a weapon Japan wasn’t supposed to have, and, thus, an entire city went “poof.”  Kunugi remembers being asked why he hesitates, citing that there are still civilians who have not escaped.  The superior officer says his mandate is absolute, compelling Kunugi to cooperate.

Futagami knows that Kunugi was in National Defense, that he quit in 2013.  He then asks why Kunugi is head of TERRA instead of the reorganized JSDF.  (“Is it that big a difference in pay?”)  Futagami asks where he can find work since he can afford only a small gift on a reporter’s pay.  Kunugi suggests he could find something where he works:  “With TERRA?” “No, the Federation.”  Futagmi laughs and says, “You got me there.”  Remember this, class, as it will be on that quiz we’ll have later on.

Futagami makes one last, private comment.  “Atonement for his sin, is it?  He’s such a military man, isn’t he…?”

Ayato and Megumi are walking back, Megumi even has some of Itsuki’s flowers.  From behind, someone jokes about them being on a date after work, and in unison, they both say, “No way!”  It’s Haruka making the joke and she’s hanging out with Elvy.

After dodging a few cracks about their drinking, Elvy grabs Ayato and takes him to an arcade.  Megumi tries to catch up with Haruka about finding out Kunugi’s name, but she only finds that she’s out of the loop.  Elvy has Ayato play arcade fighter pilot games with her.  Elvy compliments Ayato’s improvement with the RahXephon, shoots him down, then asks how long he intends to keep flying.

Megumi realizes she didn’t get a vase for her flowers, but decides to look at the ships in the harbor instead.  She and Ayato look at a restaurant ship that sails around the island.  From behind, they’re asked if they’re on a date.  Together, they say, “No way, okay?!”  Futagami smiles and passes off his date comment, then calls their attention to Kunugi getting on board–Kunugi’s date is with his daughter.  Ayato, and Megumi, didn’t even know Kunugi was married.  Apparently, it’s Kunugi’s daughter’s birthday.

Kunugi is met by a woman, not a child.  She asks if Kunugi is surprised by her accepting his invitation and asks if he’s seen the video. The child in the video had a future and a wonderful gift for music.  Kunugi says it’s his fault, that it was all his doing.  The woman only accepted the invitation to tell him that she’s leaving Japan and changing her name as well.  Kunugi accepts what has happened, giving no resistance.  She presents him with the last page of the song, since it’s a piece “she” had in mind for him.

Kunugi admits he can’t read the music, being unable, or unwilling to learn.  Flowers arrive with a card telling the Commander that he should always have flowers ready for a girl.  Ah, Megumi, your little schemes are so cute.  The flowers even have a friend in the form of the plush squirrel Futagami had earlier.  Mariko leaves and Kunugi thanks her.  Then, he is left alone.

Megumi tells Ayato that she hopes Kunugi’s date went well.  Ayato thinks they might have butted into someone else’s business.  Megumi, being a girl, feels she knows how to interpret a girl’s feelings.  Ayato explains that family matters aren’t always easy for outsiders to understand.

Kunugi walks away from the boat, his temperament darker than usual.  He meets Quon and asks her to read the last page of his daughter’s song.  Quon says she’s glad and starts to play.  As the song plays, the camera shows the grave of Michiru Kunugi with the watch and flowers lying along the edges.  Kunugi says happy birthday, saying that Michiru won’t have to sleep alone for much longer since he will not hesitate anymore.  He kneels over the grave, and a photo of a young violinist surrounded by flowers.

In Kunugi’s office, his bird sits alone.  On the blue bird’s left talon, there is a ring bearing the name, Michiru.  The bird looks up at the full moon as the sound of a plane can be heard in the distance.

Subtlety.  This is something RahXephon does a lot, as few of it’s mysteries are directly stated in direct terms.  There’s no better sign of this than Jin Kunugi’s backstory.

In direct terms, here is Kunugi’s history:  As Futagami said, Kunugi was the subordinate of someone manipulating the Americans into attacking the Mu.  His superior was determined to attack at a certain point of time, regardless of civilian casualties.  Kunugi attacked and his superior vanished, leaving Kunugi to blame.  Instead of heading the Federation’s defenses, Kunugi is in charge of TERRA, an organization on the outskirts of public opinion at best.  Kunugi had a family, but the attack that he triggered killed his own daughter, which is a sin he must wipe clean.

Two more notes on Kunugi from this episode:  First, pay attention to Kunugi’s superior in the flashback.  He’s kept in shadow and never identified but, unlike some of the “getting to know TERRA personnel” episodes, Kunugi’s history is something we will return to.  Second, Kunugi doesn’t work for the Federation, so why would he suggest he could get Futagami a job with them?

Aside from the commander, we also see a lot of Ayato/Megumi interaction in this episode.  In fact, the only time they aren’t together in this episode is when Elvy plays the plane game with Ayato.  The interactions between Ayato and Megumi are worth pointing out, not only for comedic value, but to show the development of their relationship.  Take a look at Megumi’s exchange with Haruka as well; it’s a good sign of just how big a shadow Haruka casts on her little sister.

That wraps up episode ten.  Next time, we’ll travel into phase space and find Ayato touching his own subconscious desires.


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