Rahxephon-Volume 6: Aria (2001)

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Released 19-Mar-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Menu Animation & Audio
Booklet-16pp
Alternative Version-clean opening (1:31), clean closing (1:31)
Interviews-Cast-English language voice actors
Gallery-Production Sketches (2:52)
Trailer-ADV Previews (6:03)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 94:25 (Case: 75)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (47:12) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Yutaka Izubuchi
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Aya Hisakawa
Monica Rial
Hiro Shimono
Chris Patton
Houko Kuwashima
Kira Vincent Davis
Maaya Sakamoto
Mandy Clark
Yuu Sugimoto
Christine Auten
Ayako Kawasumi
Hilary Haag
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Ichiko Hashimoto


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English
English Titling
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, next episode preview

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    RahXephon Orchestration 6: Aria, the second-last volume of this intriguing anime series. If you haven't been reading along as I've reviewed the previous volumes, I recommend you read them in order: Threshold (volume 1), Tonal Pattern (volume 2), Harmonic Convergence (volume 3), Dissonance (volume 4), and Synaesthesia (volume 5).

    The four episodes on this disc are:

20 23:36 The Artisan's Battle Interested Parties Isshiki has taken over as commander of Terra, and he's making lots of changes. Strangest is the new lieutenant...
21 23:36 The Carved Seal of Xephon Goodbye My Friend Mamoru confronts Ayato and others, revealing his true colours, and threatening Megumi
22 23:36 Operation Jupiter Obliteration Downfall Isshiki's plan to attack the Absolute Barrier that makes Tokyo Jupiter is put into effect. Ayato and Quon are strongly affected
23 23:37 From Here to Eternity Where the Sweet Bird Song The largest Dolem ever is en route to attack Nirai-Kanai, and evacuation is ordered

    Four episodes this time — this feels like better value than three. The back cover is a little confused: it reports "4 complete episodes", but claims the runtime is 75 minutes.

    As is normal for this series, there are two titles for every episode above — one (shown on the left above) shows up in the English subtitles, while the other is burned into the titles. I think that the left one is a (semi-)literal translation of the title in Japanese. The first one is explained in the translator's notes as something of a play on words on Ayato's name.

    There's plenty of action in this volume, starting with the double Dolem attack in the first episode. If you have found some of the previous episodes a little slow, you'll have no problem with this volume. Lots of unexpected things happen, too.

    They are still dealing with the fall-out from the events in the previous volume. Quon is now in the hands of the Bähbem  Foundation, or rather, Ernst Bähbem. Ayato is being held under arrest for his actions. Elvy's flight status has been revoked. And Commander Kunugi has been relieved, with Isshiki Makoto taking over.

    Isshiki's new lieutenant, who identifies herself as Lt Haruka, looks very much like Reika Mishima, and has a suspicious influence on Isshiki. We learn a lot more about her, which both helps our understanding and raises more questions.

    We see Sayoko Nanamori (Itsuki Kisaragi's former lab assistant) briefly in the second and third episodes — she is not happy. Neither is Megumi, when she makes a surprising discovery while prying into Haruka's stuff.

    Helena's role has become more ambiguous, but she is no easier to like. It seems she is jealous of the role that Quon is playing, and the interest Ernst is showing in her. Quon has switched from playing the violin to playing the piano (I don't know if that is a mistake, or deliberate).

    We learn a bit more about the mysterious Ixtli, and its importance, without learning enough. Indeed, we learn rather more about the whole story of RahXephon / Ollin / Ixtli.

    And what is the significance of the stray cat?

    I'm quite deliberately not saying a lot about the plot of these episodes, because you won't want to know much before watching them. Suffice it to say that the events in these episodes are cranking things up to fever pitch.

    It looks like the final volume will be quite special — there are plenty of plot threads to tie together. And once we've seen it, we'll have to watch the whole series again (and probably again!) to try to understand the complete story.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This DVD transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced. That's the intended aspect ratio for this series.

    Here we go again: the same brilliant transfer.

    The picture is sharp and clear. There's no film grain, and no low level noise.

    Colour is gorgeous. The foreground objects are coloured simply, but in attractive and subtle colours. Backgrounds are generally more detailed. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are no noticeable film artefacts.

    There's some aliasing, but it is not disturbing. There's no moiré. There are no MPEG artefacts.

    We get the usual two sets of English subtitles (and no others). The first set mostly subtitles the opening and closing songs, but also provides subtitles for a few signs. The second set subtitles the dialogue, as well. They are easy to read, and seem well-timed.

    The disc is single-sided and dual layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change is located between the second and third episodes, and is invisible in the title change between episodes.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The soundtrack is provided in English and Japanese, just as we expect. The English soundtrack is Dolby Digital 5.1, at 448kbps, while the Japanese is only Dolby Digital 2.0, at 224kbps (up from the 192kbps of the previous disc).

    The English dialogue is well-acted, and there are no dialogue sync discrepancies with the animation. The Japanese dialogue sounds fine, but it's quite difficult for me to assess comprehensibility.

    The music in this series is marvellous. Ichiko Hashimoto's score is really good. The opening theme sounds especially good in 5.1, making it a shame that the Japanese track is merely stereo.

    The English soundtrack offers some excellent surround sound, and gives the sub plenty to do. The Japanese soundtrack on the other hand, is only 2.0, and is not surround encoded.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    All of the menus are animated with music. They are easy to use.

Booklet

    This is a real booklet, not a folded piece of paper. It's 16 pages long, and contains a variety of information and drawings. Don't look at it before you watch the show — it contains some spoilers. There's even a comment in one of the interviews that may be a spoiler for the final episode — it might be safer to wait until you've seen the whole series before reading the interviews.

Clean Opening (1:31)

    The strange but beautiful opening (I love the song), without credits. As on every previous volume...

Clean Closing (1:31)

    The closing, also without credits. This is the English version.

Interview with English Cast — Finale (44:13)

    This is a patchwork, cutting together interviews with five of the voice actors responsible for the English language soundtrack, each taped separately. A question is asked, then we see each voice actor respond. The voice actors are:

Gallery — Production sketches (2:52)

    Another free-running montage of sketches of a variety of characters and things. The theme music (an extended mix of it) plays over it. These are sketches that are exclusive to the episodes on this volume.

Trailers — ADV Previews (6:03)

    Four trailers that run one after another:

    The same trailers as on the previous volume — that's a bit disappointing.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version of this disc was released October 2003. As far as I can tell, the two versions have the same features, the same episodes, the same extras (except for the choice of trailers in the previews), and even the same cover artwork. The R1 transfer sounds like it is at least as good as this one.

    You can probably be happy with either the R1 or the R4. I am happy to have the Region 4 in my collection.

Summary

    A beautifully drawn series, with a complex and detailed story, given an excellent transfer to DVD.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The extras are good, with a long and rather interesting interview.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Thursday, April 22, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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