We seem to be on a Quon kick at the moment. It’s almost like riddle-girl might be important or something…
Thirteenth Movement: Human Specimen #1
There’s a tour tram detailing the start of the Great Mu War, but one passenger, Haruka, isn’t paying attention like everyone else. Her narration is different, a tale about how none of the survivors from the Sendai Elementary School remember a student named Kisaragi Quon. No one else from the region remembers Quon either, even though all records say she was there. Cover up, anyone?
Haruka is left a cloak-and-dagger envelope inside the maintenance panel of an airplane. Haruka looks through the envelope and questions who Quon really is. At the same time, Quon wakes up in a hospital, realizing she’s supposed to be human.
While discussing Haruka’s business trip over dinner, Haruka starts making unusual mixes of food and condiments. Ayato watches her, only to be encouraged to do the same. Megumi starts arguing about it, but Ayato does it anyway, liking the outcome. Haruka brags about putting mayonnaise on rice and Ayato perks up at the idea.
As some doctors look over Quon, Itsuki and Isshiki discuss the fact that the young woman was able to get inside the RahXephon–but she didn’t pilot it! “That woman” is coming, according to Isshiki, to check on Quon and Ayato, both of whom are “incomplete.” Itsuki says he will not forgive Ayato if the pilot doesn’t evolve to a new state soon.
Ayato watches Haruka work and asks Megumi the $$60 Billion Question: “Doesn’t she have a boyfriend or something?” Megumi says Haruka did have a boyfriend. “He was kind and he was nice to me too, I think.” A boyfriend of Haruka’s that’s met Megumi… that doesn’t add up, does it? Megumi goes on to say that it was a long time ago, when Haruka was still in college and before their last name changed. Shitow is actually the name of Megumi and Haruka’s stepfather.
This lovely Dolem appears floating in front of the full moon. It’s in orbit and making no move to attack. TERRA is content to watch, since they don’t have anything that can fly high enough to attack. The RahXephon might not even be able to get that high.
Haruka and Elvy discuss the flight limitations when Nanamori walks by, wondering if the duo is going out again. Haruka tries to arrange an outing, but is cut off when Elvy storms off. Nanamori’s gotten used to people taking a dislike to her. Haruka tries to ask about Nanamori’s tryst with “that man from the Federation,” only to be asked a question in return: Was Human Specimen #1, the first recording of Mu-phase in a person, recorded in 1989? Haruka says that was twenty years too early and all the human specimens were rescued from Tokyo Jupiter. Nanamori says her farewell, adding “Let’s stay good friends forever” before walking off with scowl, and not a comic relief scowl either.
Kunugi visits the professor, Uncle Rikudo. It’s been five months since their last meeting, just before Operation Overlord (the first episode). Kunugi repeatedly has to shoo Buchi away while Rikudo remarks that the world is small, yet people still pass by one another. Rikudo asks how Watari is doing and is presented with a stack of souvenirs.
Nanamori barges in on Ayato undressing, eventually asking why Ayato thinks Quon was in the RahXephon. Until this moment, I never realized how terrible of a spy Nanamori is, barging in on other people and asking random questions. To her credit, she steers the conversation in such a way her questions don’t seem forced.
Haruka reads through the information she got at the start of the episode. Quon’s history is starting to unravel, since she moved to Sendai the day after the Great Mu War. We see a flashback of Haruka from the day of the war, still wearing a school uniform and wearing long hair. We never see her from the front in the flashback. Haruka was away from Tokyo on a trip and her mother is shown, pregnant with Megumi.
In 2019, Haruka reads, Quon lost both parents, to be taken in by relatives. Another flashback occurs, again not showing Haruka’s face. She hears from a young man, the previously mentioned boyfriend, about how music can be translated to words, showing secret messages. The boyfriend is a “translator of music,” a term Haruka makes for him.
In 2022, Haruka reads that Quon arrives on Narai island, accompanied by her brother, Itsuki. Another flashback, this one of Haruka (we see her from the front this time) and little Megumi entering their uncle’s house as residents for the first time. At this point, Megumi is a shy little girl.
Next, Haruka reads about Quon accompanying Operation Overlord. The last flashback is Haruka asking Kunugi why they’re taking a civilian with them. Kunugi says she’s important to the success of the mission, an order from the higher-ups. The flashback closes with Kunugi asking Haruka how long it’s been since she last saw Tokyo.
Haruka puts the papers down and wonders how much time she’s lost.
The next day, she goes to the address listed on one of the documents. Oddly, it’s the shrine Quon and Ayato walked into when they were spirited away and forth. Futagami appears, hoping to sell Haruka an exclusive story. Haruka says TERRA doesn’t have much money to spend, unlike Futagami’s employer. Futagami gets Haruka to listen anyway and starts telling a game-changing tale.
He starts by asking if Haruka’s heard how the leader of the Bahbem Foundation, financier of the Federation and TERRA, hasn’t changed since the Foundation was established. Haruka says the Foundation started as a trading company in 1576 by Ernst von Bahbem, a name shared by the current head. It isn’t just the name, Futagami says, but their appearance as well, including age. Futagami reveals the medical chart of Human Specimen #1. Haruka is shocked by what she sees.
In the bar, Nanamori gives Isshiki an envelope, which he opens immediately, showing two data sticks.
The Dolem–it’s still there–watches Quon play violin for Ayato. Quon tries to get Ayato to play, but he refuses. She says Ixtli wants him to play.
Haruka and Itsuki sit alone and she asks who Quon really is. They’ve known each other for years–around the time they went to college–and Itsuki never mentioned a sister. Itsuki tries to reminisce, but Haruka tells him not to change the subject. Itsuki accuses her of doing the same, since they never discuss why they broke up. She frowns, but he says it’s ok, since that’s why she joined TERRA. “Shitow Haruka’s time is still stuck in 2012.” I couldn’t have said it better, Itsuki. Itsuki continues saying she thought TERRA would get Haruka’s time going again, since he couldn’t.
She says it’s not his fault. Itsuki puts his arms around Haruka and says, “I’m always just the substitute, no matter where I go.” Haruka says to stop it, Itsuki says, “He hasn’t changed. But Haruka has changed. And so have I.” Ayato walks in just as Haruka tries again to push Itsuki off. Itsuki forces Haruka to kiss him.
Ayato’s expression is drained, not simply awkward. He only saw the kiss, nothing leading to it. Haruka, once Itsuki backs away, is surprised and says nothing. She finally sees Ayato and reacts like a robber caught picking through a bank vault. Itsuki looks at Ayato and, for once, we can see that Itsuki hates him. But Ayato doesn’t notice the hate for what it is, he thinks he’s just interrupted a consensual kiss. Haruka is still horrified with guilt and Ayato is still blank and empty.
When Quon steps into the room, Ayato can hear the Dolem’s aria. The instrumentalists can hear the aria, something that shocks Itsuki. Quon says the song is calling to her, telling her to come back. Ayato tells Quon not to listen, that it’s a bad sound.
The RahXephon heads out. TERRA can’t find the aria, even though Ayato is already hunting for it. Ayato shields Quon with the RahXephon while stern-faced Itsuki watches from inside. Quon remembers waking in an old-fashioned room with Bahbem sitting beside her bed. She remembers farther back, seeing the back of Watari and a woman hidden by a medical curtain; the woman says Quon will understand. She remembers even farther back, being a child, in the rain, sitting on the steps of the shrine next to another girl, who is standing. “Maya?”
Ayato has his own recollection when a voice emerges from the aria, saying, “Recall.” He remembers various things about Maya Kamina. She says, “We two are as one. Come back to where you belong.” As Quon starts walking, Ayato remembers the picture Futagami showed him. He screams, “Mom!”
The RahXephon stands, extending a beam of energy in two directions from its left wrist. When TERRA sees the image, it’s clear that this energy beam is a bow. The arrow comes next, forming from the right hand, just in time for Ayato to take aim. Quon says, “Ollin, that is the path to destruction.” And destroy the Dolem, Ayato does, filling the sky with blue shooting stars. Quon is gone.
In the bar, Isshiki and Futagami watch the sky. Futagami says it’s romantic. Isshiki shows a blue envelope and mentions the reporter knows what’s inside. Futagami lies and Isshiki confirms it’s the medical chart of Human Specimen #1, which had been taken out in the past six hours. Futagami grabs the envelope, opens it, and says, “Wow! That little girl?” And we see a picture of a very young Quon. I’ll call that another BIG CLUE.
Quon sips from a cup marked with the Bahbem Foundation cross. Itsuki asks is she’s going since he thinks the Dolem was calling to her. She says she’s going, but not because she was called.
Ayato, the Shitows, and Uncle Rikudo are eating again. As promised, Haruka is pouring mayonnaise on rice (yuck!). Megumi says, “We’ve got an easily influenced guy here.” Haruka stirs her mixture, her face long and full of sadness. Ayato looks away, feeling hurt. Haruka seems even worse, wearing her heartache on her face. Ayato does not take the mayonnaise.
Watari asks Kunugi about Rikudo. Kunugi also delivers the message, “Kamina Ayato is a very nice young man.” Watari thinks he should visit soon. Watari also asks about a package, a massive freight container with the Bahbem cross on the side. Kunugi says it will arrive in the next day. Escorting the package is Helena Bahbem. Inside is something massive, human-shaped, and red.
What we learned: Quon is a Mulian. She’s also one of those mysterious girls Futagami mentioned before. Bonus clue: the other girl who was spirited forth was Maya Kamina, leader of the Mu. Does this mean that Quon is an important Mu? It’s a safe assumption at this point with her being an instrumentalist, having markings similar to Ayato, and a black egg waiting to hatch.
Is Itsuki Quon’s brother? Before now, the answer would be yes, but now, it’s uncertain. They still share a deep familiarity. Itsuki has more than just a past with Haruka, they used to date and he still wants her. She thinks she’s done with him, especially with Ayato around, but something about her still accepted that kiss. Regardless of Haruka’s thoughts and feelings, Itsuki resents Ayato deeply. Something about Ayato infuriates Itsuki when it comes to the RahXephon and Haruka. I will address that by asking, What makes Itsuki a “substitute”?
As far as what Haruka and Megumi’s last name used to be, well, that will be answered. Just forget about it for now, ok? I only mention it because it’s the one mystery no one ever things about when they first watch RahXephon, then they finish watching the series and figure it out. It’s the most minor of minor mysteries, but when you find out, it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Finally, a programming note: The next post about RahXephon will be Thatness and Thereness, the OVA. The halfway point–yes, we’re halfway!–is where the OVA goes. It goes with all the transitions we’ve seen with Quon in the past few episodes and, since it’s not available in the US for retail purchase, I’m going to post the youtube clips.