Rahxephon-Volume 7: Crescendo (2001)
Menu Animation & Audio
Alternative Version-clean opening (1:32), clean closing (3:02)
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Japanese crew and voice actors
Gallery-Production Sketches (2:51)
Trailer-ADV Previews (8:38)
Music Video-Fate of Katun
|Year Of Production||2001|
|Running Time||70:37 (Case: 75)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (47:18)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Yutaka Izubuchi|
Kira Vincent Davis
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, next episode preview|
We have reached RahXephon Orchestration 7: Crescendo, which is the concluding volume of this 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), Synaesthesia (volume 5), and Aria (volume 6). It has been quite a journey to reach this point.
The three episodes on this disc are:
|24||23:39||Doorway to the Tuning||Twin Music||The final battle between Man and Mulian has begun, and there are some unexpected participants|
|25||23:39||God's Uncertain Music||Deus Ex Machina||The final form of the RahXephon is revealed, and Bahbem's role is exposed|
|26||23:19||Far Beyond Eternity||Time Enough for Love||Ayato makes his choice, and the world is changed|
As normal for this series, there are two titles for every episode one (shown on the left above) shows up in the English subtitles, while the other is burned into the titles they make it harder to read them on this disc by placing the subtitled one over the burned in one. The subtitled one is a (semi-)literal translation of the title in Japanese. The last one is explained in the translator's notes as a play on the names Haruka and Quon, using the same characters as the names, it is Haruka Quon No Kanata it is literally "Haruka Beyond Quon". I'm somewhat intrigued to see them use the title of a Heinlein novel as the alternate title for that episode
We get to see almost every character again in these episodes, but in many cases it's only a brief glimpse (but it does resolve their storyline, in most cases). I'll say no more about the plot you won't want to know, and besides, there are layers to it that can't be explained in mere narrative you'll simply have to experience it.
Not everything gets completely explained, and not everything that gets explained is clear. And you know what? That's a good thing. I watched these episodes yesterday, and I've been thinking about them since, and I'm starting to understand at least part of what happens. I suspect I will need to watch the series again to understand fully that's part of the joy of having them on DVD.
It would be handy to have a family tree of the people in this series, because there are a great many connections, some of which are only revealed here. It might be necessary to have it reveal people as we learn of their connection.
There is a coda (another musical term!) which is interesting, but replete with another confusing point (what does that invitation mean?), followed by the final closing credits, but don't stop watching, because there's a final scene, almost an afterthought from the animators it's a neat way to end the series, even if it does introduce one more complication (listen carefully to the very last word...).
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.
Such a fitting conclusion: a high quality, well-transferred disc.
The picture is sharp and clear as crystal. There's no film grain, and no low level noise.
Colour is marvellous. 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 a few scenes in which colour has been deliberately desaturated, but it is a deliberate technique, and quite appropriate. There is also a sequence during which it looks like the colours separations are losing their convergence this, too, is deliberate, disturbing, and effective.
There are no visible film artefacts.
There's some aliasing, but it is quite mild and 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 also subtitles the dialogue. They are easy to read, and seem well-timed. There are few discrepancies between the dialogue and the subtitles.
The disc is single-sided, dual layer, formatted RSDL. The layer change is located between the second and third episodes, and is invisible in the title change between episodes.
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.
The English dialogue is clear and readily understood, even when some of the characters are massively distraught, or insane (there's a lot of emotion in these voices, where appropriate). The Japanese dialogue sounds quite clear, but I don't understand Japanese, so I can't asses that aspect.
Ichiko Hashimoto's contribution to this series is significant. She took on quite a challenge, writing the music for an anime series centred on music, and pulled it off with great panache. She is justifiably proud of her work (as we learn in the interview).
The English soundtrack does a good job of using the surrounds and subwoofer. The Japanese soundtrack on the other hand, is only 2.0, and is not surround encoded, so it uses neither the surrounds, nor the subwoofer.
Note that there's an unfortunate error that appears twice on this disc. At the very end of episode 24, and again at the end of episode 25, after the preview, the first second (or so) of sound from the next episode appears, then there's the break between episodes, then we hear that second again. It disrupts the mood for a moment, and that's a shame in a disc that's otherwise close to ideal.
|Surround Channel Use|
All of the menus are animated with music. They are easy to use.
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, one of which is huge (giving away a significant part of the ending).
The strange but beautiful opening (I love the song), without credits. As on every previous volume...
The closing, also without credits. This offers the regular ending, followed by the ending of the final episode. That's a nice twist, and makes this different from the previous volumes.
This is a excellent extra, introducing us to most of the people important to the making of Rah Xephon. It's especially interesting to have the director comment on many of the people just before we meet them. The only thing I didn't like was the discordant sort-of-jazz music behind the start of the interview.
The participants are:
Another free-running montage of sketches of a variety of characters and things. There are more sketches of things than people. All these images are drawn from the episodes on this volume.
An interesting piece, not the least because the footage taken from the show is dubbed in English, despite this song being in Japanese.
Five trailers that run one after another:
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 at the end of 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.
Once again, you can probably be happy with either the R1 or the R4. I am happy to have the Region 4 in my collection.
A mysterious but satisfying ending to an enigmatic but exquisitely drawn series, given an excellent transfer to DVD.
The video quality is excellent.
The audio quality is excellent.
The extras are good, with an interesting interview covering a great many of the Japanese crew.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|