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RahXephon (in response to ANN's podcast).


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Arkthelad



Joined: 06 Jan 2013
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:21 am Reply with quote
Hi there,

I was listening to the "Revenge of 2000s pt2" podcast last week and noticed that Zac listed RahXephon on his list. I watched RahXephon twice over about 4 years ago after hearing people speak very highly of it and I've seen a lot of others praise it since then.

I have to say that I really don't get it. The animation and music are decent enough but the character and plot writing just seemed to lack any talent or skill.

Is there something that I'm missing, because it seems that almost everyone rates this series very highly?

[EDIT: Since we already have several other RahXephon threads floating around, I put the 'podcast' label on the title to specify its purpose. -TK]
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Blood-
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:32 am Reply with quote
You are not alone. I call it either BlahXephon or Mehxephon, myself. It does have some good bits for sure, but some of it is incredibly dopey and confusing. I've bitched before how I really detested how Haruka went from being a really kickass female character to a simpering non-entity as she, a 27- or 29-year-old woman (can't remember exactly which), spoiler[moons over the 17-year-old Ayato. She has aged faster than he has because he was trapped in Tokyo Jupiter. The strong implication is that she has never gotten over that enchanting six months they were boyfriend and girlfriend when each WAS 13 YEARS OLD.] Oi vey.

This is a popular and well-liked series but I find it over-rated.
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Arkthelad



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:57 am Reply with quote
Yeah that part is one of my main problems with the show. It's just ridiculous and also kind of sexist. I really don't get how people swallow it.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:12 pm Reply with quote
I do actually want to rewatch the show at some point. It's been almost 4 years since I've seen it. I remember really digging the first six or so eppies and then the law of diminishing returns seemed to kick in, with the occasional high point later on.

If I do rewatch, I'll read up on it first so that I won't be confused by stuff. That's one of my beefs with the show: it is virtually impossible to understand certain key elements just from the show itself; you need to do supplementary reading.

I'll also probably use the sub just to see if that improves things for me.
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MadShadow42



Joined: 01 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:21 pm Reply with quote
The word "overrated" is overrated, I try not to use it. As for whether it applies to RahXephon in particular, I think considering that it's generally thought of as hit-or-miss and has more than its fair share of detractors (including a contingent of Evangelion fans) calling it overrated is pretty silly.

As for the show itself, I'll admit it's a favorite of mine toward which I have a bit of a personal bias due to loving the show's themes, but I'll still readily defend it on its own merits. So far, the complaints are mostly abstract, the only concrete one I've seen so far is with regard to spoiler[Haruka still loving Ayato after all those years. That's a bit difficult to defend if it doesn't click with you instinctively, but I think they worked with it well because we're able to see them interacting and witness the natural chemistry between them, and their relationship is (re)established very subtly and gradually, so by the time we found out the truth I was willing to believe it. The phrase "absence makes the heart grow fonder" might also be applicable.] At the end of the day, I think your enjoyment of the show leans heavily on whether or not you can get behind spoiler[their relationship.] As for her not being the badass you wanted, that's more a matter of preference; wearing shades and brandishing a gun all the time doesn't automatically give a character greater depth, her role isn't that of an action hero but it's a crucial one nonetheless, I don't find it "sexist" at all. The story on a whole I found to be an exercise in subtlety, where many things the characters say and do carry multiple meanings that might not be immediately apparent on a first (or even second or third) viewing. There are a few superfluous details here and there, but on a whole the series is held together by blink-and-you'll-miss-it revelations, multifaceted dialogue and layered metaphors. I find that to be its greatest strength, but it's also what alienates many viewers.

It's hard to explain why the show "works" if it doesn't come naturally, I'm new to this forum but I don't doubt the folks here have been down this road several times before and it's pretty early in the morning in my timezone. I may have to get back to y'all on this, but that's the gist of why I love it (and why many people don't).
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:14 pm Reply with quote
Over-rated is a perfectly fine word and, in my opinion, applies to RahXephon perfectly. Perhaps your perception differs from mine, but I have seen much more praise for RahXephon than not. I've seen a number of people list it as one of their favourite anime. I don't use "over-rated" lightly. I wasn't a particularly big fan of Cowboy Bebop either, but I can still look at that and understand why many people are, so I don't use over-rated as a way to describe my own tepid reaction to it. It's true my criticisms are not as detailed and specific as I would like simply because it has been four years and I've forgotten a lot. That's part of my desire to rewatch - will I still feel the same way I did the first time or will I have a different appreciation for it now that I know more? Who knows?
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Arkthelad



Joined: 06 Jan 2013
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:37 pm Reply with quote
Blood- wrote:
Perhaps your perception differs from mine, but I have seen much more praise for RahXephon than not.


I agree, the number of people who like it far outways those who dislike it from my experience. It's a 90/10 split at the very least.

To get more concrete;

* I can't really get passed the romance part because of spoiler[the age/time difference & memory wiping aspect].
* The central cast is oversized, with a lot of unnecessary members which resulted in very poor characterisation IMO.
* One of the challenges of writing science fiction is creating a world where the imaginary concepts fit in and make sense within the world. I felt it failed at this and it didn't really work as science fiction for me.
* There is a lack of defined or meaningful conflict in the story and subsequently no real tension.
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dtm42



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:42 pm Reply with quote
It all depends on how much you understand and accept. If you don't know why the dolems were attacking then the 'battles' seem rather one-sided. If you don't understand why Haruka dated Itsuki in college, or accept her reason for even picking up a gun in the first place, then her character is not as believable as was intended. If you won't do the homework the series asks of you then a heck of a lot of backstory and much of the foundation to the plot are unavailable to you; you won't know why tuning the world even matters at all.
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Vaisaga



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:51 pm Reply with quote
Arkthelad wrote:
I agree, the number of people who like it far outways those who dislike it from my experience. It's a 90/10 split at the very least.


What sort of places to you go to? Because there's plenty of people out there who'll call it a bad Eva clone.

As for your points:

*I wasn't particularly fond of the romance either, but not because of the nature of it. I just thought Ayato was better with Megumi Laughing

*The characters that mattered got all the development they needed. But you might be happier with the movie, as it makes the cast smaller.

*While some science fiction might go that route, RahXephon is a different case. Mulians are from another dimension, so of course their technology won't exactly make sense! It doesn't make sense within that world because it's not from that world.

*Uh, did you miss the whole "Earth vs. Mu" war that was going on?

Anyways, I love RahXephon. I do think it's a great series that I might even say is better than Evangelion.
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Blood-
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:52 pm Reply with quote
The foundation of good writing is to provide whatever information is needed within the body of the work itself. This is especially true of an anime like RahXephon which was an original story, not adapted from some other source material. As such, there is no excuse for constructing a show that requires extracurricular reading to become fully intelligible. It is ironic that, reputedly, part of the inspiration for RahXephon was the desire to "correct" some of NGE's obtuse excesses, yet the show ended up doing the same thing (albeit not to the same extent).
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Vaisaga



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:55 pm Reply with quote
Everything dtm42 mentioned is covered in the show proper. RahXephon doesn't have any extracurricular readings to do (it did get a novelization, but the manga adaptation was a different story). I think by 'homework' dtm42 meant looking for stuff that's already there, but just maybe not so obvious.
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dtm42



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:07 pm Reply with quote
Vaisaga wrote:
Everything dtm42 mentioned is covered in the show proper. RahXephon doesn't have any extracurricular readings to do (it did get a novelization, but the manga adaptation was a different story). I think by 'homework' dtm42 meant looking for stuff that's already there, but just maybe not so obvious.


The show drops James Churchward's name in an early episode (might have been episode five; not sure). Although you don't need to research him to enjoy the show, if you want to fully understand who the Mu are and what happened to them then you need to know what Churchward espoused. Same goes for the recurring motif of the girl in the yellow dress who repeatedly appears on higher ground than the protagonist. If you know about The Dandelion Girl, then that will enrich your experience of the show.
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Blood-
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:08 pm Reply with quote
@ Vaisaga - I don't really buy that, but that's also part of my desire for a rewatch. I know for myself a lot of stuff didn't become clear until I read the RahXephon Wikipedia page. It will be interesting for me to see if it truly is all there on the screen, but I have my doubts.
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Vaisaga



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:28 pm Reply with quote
dtm42 wrote:
The show drops James Churchward's name in an early episode (might have been episode five; not sure). Although you don't need to research him to enjoy the show, if you want to fully understand who the Mu are and what happened to them then you need to know what Churchward espoused. Same goes for the recurring motif of the girl in the yellow dress who repeatedly appears on higher ground than the protagonist. If you know about The Dandelion Girl, then that will enrich your experience of the show.


Ah. All I knew about the Mu was that they were essentially another version of Atlantis.

Didn't know about the Dandelion Girl, though. Sounds like a nice story.

Though I suppose there's one thing RahXephon could be harshed on for. It's the opposite of Evangelion. spoiler[Evangelion was about facing reality, but RahXephon ends Adam Savage style: "I reject your reality and substitute my own!"]
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dtm42



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:07 pm Reply with quote
Then you got the wrong idea out of it. spoiler[The ending was not about if you don't like reality then change it. Instead, it is about reality is changing anyway and you have the power to shape it so what would you like it to be? What is truly important to you? Ayato decided his love for Haruka as being the most important thing to him, and he wanted to have a normal life with her. That's not running away, that's embracing what truly matters.]

The only thing I don't like about the ending is that spoiler[Quon - who previously was Ayato's biological mother - is now his daughter. I assume it was Quon's wish but it does feel weird. But of course, if you can turn the entire planet into an egg then changing some genes isn't impossible. So it's not a big deal in the scheme of things.] It's something that I wish hadn't happened rather than an actual flaw.
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