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Rah Xephon the liveblog take three or so
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RahXephon the liveblog take three or so:

 1 Ponicalica, Fri, 16th Jul '10 10:10:24 PM from facing Buttercup
Noimporta really wants me to do this, since Alkthash's disappeared into the "archives" and Dracia's was cancelled partway through. I'm making the topic now because the flood control makes it hard to actually start a topic and so doing it in the middle of the morning makes it easier, but I will start the actual liveblog tomorrow.

Just a note: I am going into this pretty much blind. All I really know is that it's sort of like Evangelion but not, and that it's done by BONES, who made Fullmetal Alchemist into an anime twice. I don't even know what a RahXephon is yet, or if it even is anything at all.

edited 16th Jul '10 10:10:36 PM by Ponicalica

 2 KSPAM, Fri, 16th Jul '10 10:19:56 PM from on the ground Relationship Status: In another castle
BEST. PRINCESS. EVER
GO! GO YOU MAGNIFICENT BASTARD! GIVE ME A REASON TO WATCH THIS SERIES!
Team? You mean cannon fodder? — neobowman

Goodfae: a mafia web serial
 3 Arilou, Sat, 17th Jul '10 4:57:11 AM from Quasispace
Taller than Zim
Go. And pay attention, there's a lot of stuff in the details.
"No, the Singularity will not happen. Computation is hard." -Happy Ent
 4 Ponicalica, Sat, 17th Jul '10 5:04:22 PM from facing Buttercup
Alright, so my plan is to do these in half-episode-sized chunks. Given the way anime episodes tend to be set up, this means I'll be blogging up to the eyecatch.

So it starts off with the credits playing over some aircraft carriers(which seem to have legs). As we cut to the cockpit, we see that the music playing was actually playing in someone's earphones. Some red-haired girl says something about wings taking off, and then we see a futuristic-looking aircraft(also, red, meaning that it goes faster) taking off. Then, we get to see the aircraft carrier again, and now I am in fact sure that it has legs. New technology, I guess.

Now we get what I think is the episode title card. "First Movement / Invasion of the Capital"

Some peaceful shots of a city. We come to a door or mailbox or whatever belonging to "Kamina Maya / Ayato", so apparently it was actually Gainax who stole from BONES. tongue And now we get to see inside his room, with the standard childhood pictures, and we also get to see a bunch of paint on the floor. I guess Ayato is a painter. And now we see the painting, which is very red and orange, and has a girl standing on the edge of a cliff looking out into the distance at the obligatory cross. Pretty, if a bit drab. We zoom in on the painting, specifically on the girl(probably a major character), and then Ayato's alarm clock beeps. I guess he has sleeping problems like I do? "All is well in the world, I guess." Felt resigned, though. I'm guessing he's our sullen main character?

He walks into the kitchen and his mom put his breakfast in plastic wrap for him. Apparently she's going to be late today, and Ayato's statement implies that this is a regular occurrence. We see him walking out through a video camera, meaning that he is probably important already. We then get to see a blue-haired lady with sunglasses holding the camera, with a special shot indicating her earring. In the next scene, we see Ayato in a rail line(with the subtitles indicating "Normal Ikebukuro"...I wonder what the "Normal" means) and blue-haired lady turns on her earring and puts it into his bag. Probably a tracking device, I'm guessing. Ayato thinks he hears high heels, but when he turns around they're gone. Don't worry, Ayato, blue-haired lady has the air of plot-relevance around her, you'll be seeing her again.

Either way, next we see an orange-haired girl looking about Ayato's age. Ayato pegs her as Asahina, and doesn't seem pleased to see her. We also get to see her "partner", whom Ayato seems a lot more pleased to meet. Either way, Ayato is a lot more concerned with the fact that his Plot Sense tells him he's being watched. Asahina teases him about it. I think I'm starting to dislike her. Ayato hears an airplane and looks up at it; Asahina gets mad and pulls him off-screen. Next, we see some Important Looking People rummaging around Ayato's house, and something about the first line of defense already being breached. We cut back to Ayato et al in a train again, with the third guy(whose name I missed) studying chemistry, and then they get into some argument about effort. Asahina teases Ayato about working on his drawing and is just annoying in general. But their discussion is cut off by an explosion on the bus.

We then cut to the Important Looking People who I think are trying to track down Ayato. Their van has a computer screen on it telling them how bad the damage is. We then cut to the heavily damaged subway train, where Ayato wakes up first and then tries to wake up Mamoru(the third guy) and Asahina, in that order I'll note. Asahina has a cut on her arm(so Ayato bandages it up), and Mamoru is almost unconscious. They're doing better than everyone else on the train, who is unconscious. Ayato runs off to get help despite Asahina yelling out for him. Anyways, once he makes it out of the tunnel, he sees Scenery Gorn from the attack that caused the train to crash in the first place. He soon finds himself in the middle of a military engagement, with a normal-looking plane and then a tank destroyed by a futuristic-looking plane that is probably the one from the opening scene. He sees this destroyed tank, which causes him to let out a very loud scream.

"The Terror of an Invader Attack"

We cut back to Asahina and Mamoru. Asahina is trying to clean up Mamoru's wounds. We then see the blue-haired girl from earlier turn on something in her sunglasses, then, after looking at Ayato's two friends for a short bit, runs out the train, probably to look for Ayato. We then cut to a few planes bearing the Rising Sun trying to fire missiles at the red one. Because there are no named characters inside the good guys' planes, the red one basically dodges all of them, and fires guns of its own at the Japanese planes, destroying them. Ayato continues to try to run away from them, and finally tries to take a rest in front of a computer store. Of course, then we get a missile hitting the computer store and collapsing on top of him as he tries to run away. He survives, of course, because no show is going to kill off its main character in the first episode, but now he's surrounded with dust.

And now, we get a nice long bit of Scenery Gorn until Ayato comes across a lady that looks surprisingly(well, to him) like the girl in the picture he painted. Special music plays when she turns her head around to see him, because BONES wasn't sure if we realized she was important. Apparently she's Mishima Reika, whoever that is. And then, the eyecatch, which is where I decided that I would stop, since it's a nice halfway point. Video time: 10 minutes 34 seconds.

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming whenever I want to do Part 2!
 5 Arilou, Sat, 17th Jul '10 5:07:59 PM from Quasispace
Taller than Zim
Then, we get to see the aircraft carrier again, and now I am in fact sure that it has legs. New technology, I guess.

It's a katamaran/hydrofoil type design. They really do make things go faster (by reducing friction, it's esentially a boat on skis) but they're not used much becuase they'e fragile and complicated.

Which makes them show up a lot in SF works.

EDIT: That scene with Reika is actually pretty interestin. It's similar, but not the same as the painting (differnt birds, for instance)

edited 17th Jul '10 5:11:50 PM by Arilou

"No, the Singularity will not happen. Computation is hard." -Happy Ent
Azor Ahai
From reading the English translation of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei- the "normal train" is one that's cheaper and runs slower- the joke in that series was that the "normal girl" was riding it.

I'm interested to see your thoughts on the series. I also think it's interesting you pegged Ayato as glum. He's described on this wiki as a Nice Guy, and while I think that's largely true, it's also a function of other anime protagonists just being massive jerks.

edited 17th Jul '10 5:13:10 PM by Jordan

Hodor
 7 Ponicalica, Sat, 17th Jul '10 5:15:57 PM from facing Buttercup
It's a katamaran/hydrofoil type design. They really do make things go faster (by reducing friction, it's esentially a boat on skis) but they're not used much becuase they'e fragile and complicated.

Which makes them show up a lot in SF works.
Ah. That makes sense. Whoever launched the plane seems to be a lot more technologically advanced than modern Japan.

As for Ayato being glum, I said that mostly based on the impressions of him in the first few scenes. I know that a lot of protagonists tend to lose the glumness after the world-shattering events.

edited 17th Jul '10 5:18:09 PM by Ponicalica

 8 Arilou, Sat, 17th Jul '10 5:21:03 PM from Quasispace
Taller than Zim
Ayato is definitely a bit more mellow than is usually the case for protagonist, he's not emotionless or anything (far from it) but he's a bit of th silent type (somewhat unusual for a protagonist now that think about it)
"No, the Singularity will not happen. Computation is hard." -Happy Ent
 9 hollow 49, Sun, 18th Jul '10 1:59:03 AM from Southwest England
Its good to see another liveblog started on this series. Thanks!

 10 Ponicalica, Sun, 18th Jul '10 3:12:46 PM from facing Buttercup
RahXephon Episode 1, part 2

We start back at the eyecatch. We see Ayato purchasing a soda for Mishima. He appears a lot happier than he was at the beginning of the episode, and they are surprised to see each other there. I'm guessing they're old friends who hadn't seen each other in a while or something. The conversation continues for a bit, but then Mishima hears something, and walks outside, apparently oblivious to Ayato's protests. "Singing." "Singing?" "Dolem..." This, of course, means nothing to us, since we don't know what a dolem is yet. I will, however, say that that sounded nothing like singing to me. We cut back to Asahina and Mamoru talking, worrying about Ayato. Also: I find it odd that we haven't seen any name for these guys other than "Invader". (It makes me think of my NationStates days.) Of course, their conversation is cut off by lasers. A plane mecha with wings and a halo is flying around and destroying all the "Invaders" with said lasers.

And now we see Ayato and Mishima again. Ayato makes a short comment about the mecha, and decides it's not safe to stick around. Then we cut to some guys on a helicopter talking about it as the linchpin of the defense of the capital. Apparently the helicopter was looking for Ayato. They point a camera at him, and next, we're in a room, looking through the camera. Apparently, inside this room is a blue-lipped lady wearing a giant headpiece that covers all of her face but her mouth. She appears to be in some sort of containment. I'm guessing she has something to do with the mecha. They make some comments about "Allegretto" and "Ollin" that don't make much sense to me yet. Apparently they want to send Allegretto out, and a woman whose face has been hidden from us(Ayato's mom?) is sure it's okay because she won't awaken without Ollin, and even then wouldn't be able to sing. I want to know what this "singing" thing is.

Now we're in what I think is a train terminal. Ayato starts walking down some stairs, but Mishima doesn't follow. The camera angle puts Mishima in front of a picture of a bird, because we wouldn't be able to tell before from the fact that she called the mech's bizarre noise "singing" and even called it by the name "Dolem" that she's connected to the angel-like mech. And, of course, just as he calls up for her, she disappears, and the two Important Looking People come up to Ayato, announcing themselves as working for the government. "Government?" Of course they're from the government, Ayato, can't you tell from their uniforms? Either way, they pretty much force Ayato to come with him, even pulling a gun to his he—Oh, what's that? Blue-haired lady, come to save the day! She performs acrobatic martial arts and knocks the two Important Looking People out, getting a little bit of blue-colored blood on Ayato's hand.

Blue?

Either way, Ayato points a gun at blue-haired lady, asking what just happened. Blue-haired lady calls herself "a champion of justice", and makes him thank her for saving his life, by which she means giving the gun to her. And now, of course, she mentions that he's wondering why their blood is blue. She promises to explain if he comes with her, and when that doesn't work she points the gun at him. And, of course, the subway train opens up to reveal Mishima there, just like any good Mysterious Waif who knows far more than the protagonist or viewer. As one of the Important Looking People catches the Champion of Justice from behind, Ayato decides to run into the subway train. He gets in just as the Champion of Justice manages to break free from the Important Looking Person, and the doors close behind him. She yells at him not to go. I don't really trust any of them at this point.

Ayato starts trying to kick and punch the door of the subway train, fruitlessly, as Mishima asks what's going on, probably just to avoid suspicion from Ayato. "Last stop, Shrine of Xephon". I decide to do a quick Google and Wikipedia search to find out if Xephon means anything outside of the context of the show. As far as I can tell, it doesn't. "Shrine of Xephon / Manseibashi" The station here seems to be deserted, with everything glowing red. Very creepy-looking. The subway station's doors close and then lose power, meaning that the two are stuck here. They decide to go into a tunnel, lit blue instead of the red of everything else. Of course, there they see something that definitely has to do with the "Xephon" this is a shrine to. It also sort of looks like the painting of an Egyptian king or something. Ayato identifies it as one of those mechs that was defending Japan. Next, we go back into that room of people watching Ayato, and they say he's getting close to the "room of Rah". RahXephon, perhaps? That said, I'm not sure I've ever seen the name of the Egyptian god Ra spelled that way, if it even is a reference to that, but the Egyptian motifs elsewhere make me think that is the case. Either way, they send out "Fortissimo", probably connected to "Allegretto" and "Ollin", despite the protestations of everyone else.

Next, we get to see a feminine-looking mech escape from some sort of secret base. Instead of having hands, it has claws for arms. I'm guessing this is "Fortissimo". Ayato and Mishima have managed to escape the building of the Shrine of Xephon and are now on its outside. Very pretty somewhat-destroyed ancient architecture. I must say that I like the Scenery Gorn of this show. Mishima gets transfixed by a giant egg surrounded by fountains, and calls attention to it to Ayato. We then see the winged mech from earlier filling the gaps between its arms and torso with electricity, and Fortissimo opening its mouth. This causes a bunch of glass to break, and one of the "invader" planes to explode. The pilot of another yells out "Damned Dolem!", so I guess I should probably call all the mechs Dolems from now on. Makes me think of "golem", the Hebrew Artificial Human. Then, behind her plane, a giant Airborne Aircraft Carrier or something with a large number of human heads just...appears behind her. This whole thing causes Ayato to scream in pain while Mishima just smiles. Goddamn, she is suspicious. The egg starts glowing, and Mishima opens her mouth and lets out a single note.

As the egg starts cracking, Ayato wakes up, letting out the words "Rah...Xephon..." and a single angelic wing pops out of the egg. The last thing we see in the episode before the ending song is the giant airship appearing before Mrs. Champion of Justice before announcing that it is Mu, our enemy. In the ED, we get to see the red-haired girl from the first scene again. Also, it contains the line "Fly me to the Moon Music"—even if references to a certain infamous Gainax mecha series are something I've been trying to avoid as much as possible, here I couldn't help it. Either way, I think I'm probably going to skip the ED, because I didn't much like it, especially since I don't plan on watching the next episode previews.

Next time, Episode 2!

edited 18th Jul '10 3:14:31 PM by Ponicalica

 11 J Bridge, Sun, 18th Jul '10 3:46:20 PM from Alameda, CA
null
You'll have questions for a while, but don't worry. They all get answered sooner or later.
There's no space in the name.
 12 Ponicalica, Sun, 18th Jul '10 9:15:31 PM from facing Buttercup
One of the great things about doing a liveblog is that I can never lose track of how many episodes I've watched like I did for Durarara!!.

RahXephon Episode 2, part 1

The OP plays while the obligatory images which I won't understand in context until I actually watch the series play. There's nothing there that I find notable enough to talk about in the liveblog. I like the OP, though. We start with a heartbeat on a black background, with Mishima repeating the "Awake" line from last episode as the egg comes into view on the black background. As Ayato awakens the egg cracks open. "RahXephon." Mishima is transfixed by the opening of the RahXephon.

"Second Movement / God And Man Awaken" I also notice something I didn't notice in the first episode, which is that there's an English title as well: "AWAKENING".

We cut back to the giant Mu airship from last episode. We see a bunch of futuristic-looking planes around it, as well as Fortissimo. The planes launch missiles at Fortissimo, but they don't even get the pleasure of every single missile hitting the target as the dolem has a force field or something around it that explodes the missiles before they even reach it.(Her?) The pilot of one of the planes calls out "Damned Mu!" and then notices another mech(which is apparently "not a D-1", not that any of us know what that is yet) coming out. Being the Genre Blind idiots that they are, they flip around and try launching missiles at it. They seem to hit the target, but, being a mech and thus inherently superior to any non-mech, shrugs them off. It then lights up and launches some light-based attack, immediately destroying all the planes but one. Fortissimo then decides to attack it itself with its sound wave attack, which works for a while until the new mech(RahXephon?) kills it by pushing its hand out and causing Fortissimo to fall to the ground.

We then get to see the other original dolem(who I think is Allegretto) come near the new one, as we get a nice shot of Fortissimo's destroyed head, and the giant Mu airship goes invisible again. And back to the control room, with the announcement that Hiranipra has returned and Ollin has been retrieved. Apparently, everything went Just as Planned. Next, we see a cut to Kanto General Hospital and video of the Champion of Justice fighting off the MIBs. They zoom in and enhance a la CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and then have it turned into a photograph. Also, her eyes are visible behind the sunglasses now that we've seen her without them. They then mention her earring and claim that it was found in "Ollin's" bag. His name is Ayato, you jerks. After a brief chat with "Makondo 4", we cut to Ayato, actually in the hospital now. The first thing he asks is whether he arrived with a girl. The nurse says he didn't, meaning, of course, that Mishima is probably in the control room or something. Ayato gets to see a young girl crying for her father  * before the nurse tells him his mom is coming over to pick him up. Chances of this mother being the lady in the control room: high.

As he walks out of the hospital, he hears a newscast about the invaders, which causes him to fall to the ground in pain. We then see Ayato's mom, who has the exact same hairstyle as the lady in the control center whose face was blatantly never shown, driving a bored Ayato home. They chat for a while, with his mom feigning ignorance of what was going on. Furthermore, when he mentions her coming to pick him up, he says "I didn't know you had a side like that." On the other hand, he didn't kick her out at the age of four like someone I could mention. She tells him to take it easy once he gets home. Of course, once he gets home, he immediately calls Mishima, who deflects the question of why she disappeared by asking how he is. His mom asks who she is, and then stares at the phone for a bit before hitting the "Redaeyal"  * button. It gives her an invalid number. I am impressed by Ayato's skills in sleight-of-hand.

We then cut to a classroom. The teacher speaks in Gratuitous English that, before I noticed the accent, caused me to check to make sure I hadn't accidentally turned on the dub track. There is an empty desk, probably Mishima's. Ayato flashes back to the Champion of Justice saying she'd explain everything before getting called out by the teacher. Mamoru then makes a snide comment about studying the languages of countries that don't exist, and the teacher explains that even though countries like England and America are now gone(O SHI-), Gratuitous English is still a very important part of all anime there are still novels and music written in English. We then get to see a map of Japan with a circle on it, then a larger circle representing everything in that smaller circle—probably Tokyo, which is, as we all know, the only place that exists in Japan. We then cut to a black car outside the school with a MIB inside it, then to the Champion of Justice reading a magazine behind some glass(which I'm not sure is the car or not). Then, back to the school. Asahina and Mamoru talk about their stitches, and then ask Ayato about what happened to him. He mentions Mishima. As they discuss how she isn't here, she appears. More banter between Ayato, Ayato's friends whom I hope become irrelevant soon, and Mishima.

We then cut to Ayato and Mishima outside a pool. She says that she's sure that if Ayato saw it, it wasn't a dream, which sounds suspiciously like she's pretending not to know what's happening. She then says something about "the one who will tune the world", which makes me think of the Dolems' horrible "singing". He then walks home and gets a piece of mail, saying "Don't you want to see how the world truly is? Meet me tonight at 2am in Shakuiji Park", which was probably sent by the Champion of Justice. We then get to see the painting from the beginning again, and the eyecatch. Video time: 12 minutes 56 seconds.
You could make a drinking game with every time someone blatantly lies to Ayato about what they know... you wouldn't get very drunk, this being a nine hours long series and all, but they do it a lot.

 14 Arilou, Sun, 18th Jul '10 11:13:12 PM from Quasispace
Taller than Zim
That's, IIRC, the last you'll see of Asahina and Superchunky in a while.

And yes, everyone at this stage knows more than Ayato about everything. You'll come up against a couple of people who knows less, but I can only name two of them off-hand :p

RE: Mishima (not spoilers but stuff I'm not sure you caught) Note how she doesen't have a phone number, and how Asahina and Mamoru didn't know who she was until she appeared. Suspicious, no?

edited 18th Jul '10 11:15:26 PM by Arilou

"No, the Singularity will not happen. Computation is hard." -Happy Ent
 15 hollow 49, Sun, 18th Jul '10 11:21:28 PM from Southwest England
Trying to avoid spoilers at this stage of the story is hard.

Some All There in the Manual points that might be of help: "Xephon" is, I believe, meant to be a corruption of a Greek word for "Statue", or possibly "Idol" - "Rah" is indeed meant to be the Egyptian sun-god Ra.

Ollin is one of the technobabble terms in the anime that you'll eventually get from context; it's Nahuatl for "movement", and also part of the name of the Aztec sun-god Ollin Tonatiuh. (It's probably symbolic of something, but I'll leave you to decide on the interpretation.)

Allegretto and Falsetto are very nearly the only Dolems named on-screen; most other Dolems only get named in the supplementary material. I'll try and remember to provide these from the liner notes as and when they appear. Dolem is meant to remind japanese viewers both of "Golem" and "Do-Re-Mi". (Note that both Dolem's seen so far have sung as they attack.)

 16 Ponicalica, Mon, 19th Jul '10 1:52:31 AM from facing Buttercup
Allegretto and Falsetto are very nearly the only Dolems named on-screen; most other Dolems only get named in the supplementary material. I'll try and remember to provide these from the liner notes as and when they appear. Dolem is meant to remind japanese viewers both of "Golem" and "Do-Re-Mi". (Note that both Dolem's seen so far have sung as they attack.)
Ah, so they're supposed to be musical tempo markers. (It was Allegretto and Fortissimo, and the vaguely feminine appearance of the latter made me want to refer to her/it as Fortissima, in accordance with general Romance language gender rules)
 17 Arilou, Mon, 19th Jul '10 4:48:22 AM from Quasispace
Taller than Zim
It's all musical terms, really.
"No, the Singularity will not happen. Computation is hard." -Happy Ent
Azor Ahai
I had a question- I forget what anime it was, but I came across another anime that referenced the Mu/Mulians as a group. Can someone tell me what the term means- it sounds like it's some kind of "lost civilization" theory.

But also, good catch- yeah, Ayato's mom is one of the Gendo-expies in the series. It's kind of funny that although (arguably) more villainous, she's a much better parent than Gendo (admittedly not to difficult).
Hodor
 19 Arilou, Mon, 19th Jul '10 8:17:41 AM from Quasispace
Taller than Zim
It is, pretty much, Wiki gives the lowdown

It's basically Atlantis... IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN!
"No, the Singularity will not happen. Computation is hard." -Happy Ent
Was?
^^Damnit Jordan you're making me want to talk about Ayato's father. Damnit. But yeah a lot of characters can be seen as split Eva expies. Like Elvy and Megumi acting out the roles of "hot blooded teammate who likes fighting" and "Tsundre the main lives with" from Asuka.

Arilou - Hey somebody remembered the Superchunky placeholder!

Ponicalic - I can't wait till you see Kunugi on screen. He seems to be the Ensemble Darkhorse of the series.

 21 Arilou, Mon, 19th Jul '10 8:45:51 AM from Quasispace
Taller than Zim
The way it breaks down is basically (don't read this btw.)

Misato-Haruka

Rei-Quon

Gendo]-Maya

Asuka-split between Elvy and Megumi

That friend of Shinji's whos name I can't reember-Asahina

Kaworu-Mamoru

Ritsuko-Whatshename, doctor's assistant

It's a bit more complicated than this, obviously. (everyone has clones!) but that's the basic gist of it.

edited 19th Jul '10 8:46:57 AM by Arilou

"No, the Singularity will not happen. Computation is hard." -Happy Ent
Azor Ahai
I saw it slightly differently

Elevey has the Bottle Fairy parts of Misato, while Haruka keeps some of the Adult Child part, but to a lesser extent

Mamoru is Toji given a Face-Heel Turn
Hodor
Was?
I can't really see Mamoru as a Kawarou expy considering he actively wants to kill Ayato. Heel-Face Turn Toji makes more sense..

Oh and Whatshername is Nanamori.

Some more for fun:

Kaji - split between Makoto and Futagami

Kiel - Bahbem

 24 Arilou, Mon, 19th Jul '10 9:30:08 AM from Quasispace
Taller than Zim
I think Mamoru-Kaworu fits together more in their plot significance (they're both The Mole who end up causing some significant character development/change in the main character) more than thier personality per se. Also, less Ho Hay obviously
"No, the Singularity will not happen. Computation is hard." -Happy Ent
 25 hollow 49, Mon, 19th Jul '10 11:09:44 AM from Southwest England
While the Eva-Rah X comparisons are fun, perhaps we should rein them in a little until Ponicalica can participate as well? We don't want to scare our liveblogger off with all the spoiler space, or ruin any plot twists by accident.

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