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Akiyuki in his Xam'd form and Haru.
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Akiyuki is an Ordinary High-School Student who lives with his two best friends Haru and Furuichi on Sentan Island, a neutral zone while the North and South governments wage war. That is, until he gets caught in a terrorist bomb attack. The bomb itself comes in the form of a white haired girl, and the explosion implants a gem into Akiyuki's arm, which forcibly transforms him into a Xam'd, a humanoid creature. Nakiami, a mysterious and emotionless young woman, takes Akiyuki into her care in order to help him control his newfound power, forcing Akiyuki to leave his home and friends behind.

Meanwhile, every day life is torn asunder in Sentan Island as the Mainsoul Military takes over to stop the Humanform Weapons from wreaking havoc, but unknown to most they are doing secret experiments involving the very monsters they're trying to stop. Haru and Furuichi have both joined the military, albeit for different reasons. While Furuichi wants to protect their island, Haru is hoping to reunite with Akiyuki.

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Xam'd: Lost Memories (亡念のザムド Bounen no Zamned) is produced by Studio BONES and shares some similarities to Eureka Seven, BONES's previous creation. It offers a deep and involved plot with detailed art and a rich setting.

Notably, it first came available for download on the PS3 in North America, months before it became available in Japan- unfortunately, the translation was very sloppy as noted below. It is now also being broadcast by the Anime Network and distributed by Section 23 Films' Sentai Filmworks imprint in America.


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Tropes:

  • Badass Normal: Nakiami. No questions.
    • Not to mention Haru and Ishuu. Hell, even Akiyuki's parents qualify!
      • Hell, almost anyone who's not a Xam'd qualifies as this.
  • Beam Spam: As the most powerful Living Weapon in the series, the Hiruken Emperor takes the Humanforms' Frickin' Laser Beams Up to Eleven. By the end of the series, Akiyuki is also capable of pulling off a more limited version.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Ahm: Usually a kind and good natured guy, acting as father figure to most of the crew. But don't ever attack his ship, lest you feel the wrath of his cannon.
  • BFG: Ishuu's Weapon of Choice.
  • Big Guy: Ahm.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The war is over and the people of the North are free, but much was lost in setting up the plan to bring it about.
  • Blessed with Suck: Congratulations, you're a Xam'd! You've got Super Strength, Voluntary Shapeshifting, inhuman agility, and enough biological weaponry to demolish a city. Damn shame that you can't use any of it for more than a few seconds without running the risk of suffering Loss of Identity / going Ax-Crazy / getting Taken for Granite / all three in no particular order. Oh, and there's an ungodly powerful Eldritch Abomination who wants to pick a fight with you. Good luck with that.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Sony has always used bad translations, but Xam'd is one of their worst. Complete with typos, the context is often off, and sometimes an important term (even one that's the episode title) gets translated differently with each use, severing story connections. Not surprisingly, a frequent complaint for the series is that the plot is nonsensical.
    • "One more red mark (akaboshi) and I'll get disciplinary training." -> "Akaboshi's disciplinary committee's coming by again!"
    • "Don't be stupid. We purged those a long time ago." -> "Don't even joke about that. I don't want to be purged..."
    • "It's a 3 hour wait at the military hospital. You'd be long dead before the examination." -> "They always glare at you before examination."
  • Body Horror: Furuichi's Xam'd form, but most of the Organic Technology probably falls under this, especially anything to do with the Hiruko.
    • The Humanforms as well.
  • Body Motifs: Lots of emphasis on eyes.
  • Child Soldiers: So many of the characters have to go to war and leave their families behind. And the reactions of said families are recorded onscreen.
  • Clothing Damage: Which oddly repairs itself when the Xam'd return to normal.
  • Combined Energy Attack: Something of this sort was used against the Northern Emperor. It worked... Possibly. Maybe it was the name-giving.
  • Cool Airship: The Zanbani and the Northern and Southern military ships. The Beat Kayaks, meanwhile, combine this with Cool Bike.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: In a rare instance of this being self-inflicted, we have Furuichi using his Xam'd arm to tear off his own head!
  • Deus ex Machina: Several of the main characters suffer apparently terminal events only to show up again after the timeskip.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Subverted; the Captain's attempt at killing the Emperor is a miserable failure that only leads to him waking up.
  • Expy: Nakiami's resemblance to Nausicaa from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and San from Princess Mononoke.
    • The Furuichi-Akiyuki-Haru trio resembles the main characters from Kingdom Hearts.
    • The entire main cast appears to be primarily based on that of Eureka Seven. It's practically a 1:1 match-up.
    • Haru bears a striking resemblance to Shion Arita, who was Birdy Cephon Altera's alter ego in Birdy the Mighty: Decode.
  • Eye Scream: Ryuuzou (Akiyuki's dad) gets his eye slashed by Kakisu (we see relatively little detail, but from the amount of blood, the eyeball itself may have been cut open, if not in half(!)) near the series' end. Suffice to say, next time we see him, he has only one.
    • To add to this, the Humanform Weapons' Frickin' Laser Beams evoke this. They have special organs on their bodies, called "spores" that resemble eyes, which eject from the body and self-destruct, turning into powerful beams. Small Humanforms usually have 2, however, when we see a man missing his left eye transform into one, we see that the left spore is also missing. That's right, the spores that pop out and burn up to fire the Frickin' Laser Beams... are their EYES!
  • Falling into the Cockpit: Though they were formally recruited to pilot the ASP Suits, Haru and Furuichi qualify here as their first live training session is interrupted and they have to face off against a huge and mysterious Xam'd.
  • Fantastic Racism: The South considers Tessiks Acceptable Targets due to the war and the creepy Humanform technology.
  • Fauxlosophic Narration: Actually, they pull it off pretty well in the series.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: The Hiruken Emperor's solution to being attacked by an enraged Kujireika. Given that said finger is about the size of an industrial girder, its effectiveness is quite understandable... though still not much less humiliating for its victim.
  • Foreign Language Theme: All of the opening and ending songs are entirely in English, though the openings feature pronunciation so thickly accented it's virtually impossible to understand without subtitles.
  • Gainax Ending - Large portion of the world dedicated itself through centuries of ritualistic sacrifices to seal the Emperor's sorrow with a giant laser, but wait; Akyiku was sent on a journey to fight the Dark Emperor to save the day. And he did. The day was won. The wrath of the Emperor is forever silenced and peace can return to the land without having Nakiami seal herself for a millennium. And then Nakiami seals herself which leads to Akyiku and The Emperor to be blasted by previously said laser. And apparently everybody survive, including Akiyuki who inexplicably resurrected himself 7 years post facto.
  • Gambit Pileup: After Episode 19 and the Hiruken Emperor's return, every single faction in the story swings their plans into action at once. The results are predictably messy.
  • Giant Flyer: A type of Humanform Weapon classifies as this. The one that looks like an airborne manta ray, that is.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Nakiami seals herself within the Quickening Chamber, knowing that she will never see her friends and loved ones again, to sleep for 1000 years in order to offset the darkness of the Hiruken Emperor.
  • High-Speed Missile Dodge
  • Homing Lasers: The Hiruken Emperor uses these in spades when he fights, leading to Akiyuki's aforementioned High-Speed Missile Dodge.
  • Important Haircut: This show loves this trope: Haru and Raigyo.
  • Improbable Age: The southern military recruits and trains 16 year olds to be military pilots of highly advanced and deadly mecha suits, apparently as routine. May be seen as plausible given that a war has just started (and some modern countries recruit at that age in peacetime), but they are also being sent out in the field with hardly any training.
  • Ironic Echo:
    Nakiami: (to Yango) Your parents would want you to value your life.
    [...]
    Yango: (to Nakiami) You need to value yourself even more!
  • Karmic Transformation: A few episodes after it becomes clear that Furuichi hates and despises the Xam'd, he becomes one himself.
  • Lady of War: Ishuu
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia
  • The Lancer: Nakiami
  • Libation for the Dead, Until Ishuu realises the recipient is underage and consumes the remainder herself.
  • Living Weapon: The Humanforms, which serve as aircraft and tanks for the Northern Army. The Xam'd also have elements of this.
  • Mercy Kill: The true goal of Lady Sannova's plan. Preventing the mass human sacrifices every millennium was just a nice little bonus.
  • Missing Mom: Kakisu, Haru, Nakiami, and that's just a few.
  • Mindlink Mates: Akiyuki shares this with Haru when he's in his Xam'd form.
  • No Name Given: The northern emperor. It's apparently an important plot point.

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