Rahxephon-Volume 7: Crescendo (2001)

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Released 19-May-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Menu Animation & Audio
Booklet-16pp
Alternative Version-clean opening (1:32), 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
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 70:37 (Case: 75)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (47:18) 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 Yes, rare
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

    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...).

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

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.

    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.

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.

    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.

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, one of which is huge (giving away a significant part of the ending).

Clean Opening (1:32)

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

Clean Closing (3:02)

    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.

Interview with Japanese Staff and Cast — a Prelude (20:20)

    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:

Gallery — Production sketches (2:51)

    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.

Music Video — Fate of Katun by Ichiko Hashimoto (5:00)

    An interesting piece, not the least because the footage taken from the show is dubbed in English, despite this song being in Japanese.

Trailers — ADV Previews (8:38)

    Five trailers that run one after another:

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 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.

Summary

    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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Wednesday, June 23, 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

Other Reviews NONE
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What a wonderful ride it has been. - REPLY POSTED