RahXephon TV
ラーゼフォン (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: ASAKAWA Yuu
Animation - BONES
Music - KANNO Yoko
NOJIMA Hirofumi
R1 License - ADV (Renamed)
SEKI Toshihiko
In the year 2015 Tokyo is covered by an inpenetrable barrier created by the Mu, mankind's enemy. 17 years old Kamina Ayato, high-schooler and hobby-painter, lives in Tokyo with his mother Maya. After a surprising air battle two "guys from the government" ask the boy to follow them, when a mysterious woman appears and knocks them out. But why do these guys have thick, blue blood? "I'll tell you if you join me", this woman offers to Ayato, who decides to run away into a subway.
There he meets his classmate Mishima Reika; this subway stops in some mysterious temple, and then ... was it a dream, or did some giant robot emerge from a huge egg, apparently guided by Reika's voice, and was he really assimilated into that robot and defeated one of the Dolem, Mu's fighting machines?
The next day his mother behaves strangely, and Ayato agrees to meet that woman, by the name of Shirou Haruka, again. Together they capture that giant robot RahXephon and break through the barrier, losing Reika in the battle - right before Ayato observed that his mother has this strange blue blood as well!
Outside the barrier Ayato now learns that the rest of the world was not destroyed as he had been told at school, and the date in this world outside "Toyko Jupiter" is actually 2027. But his real problems are still to come...

[TV series, 2002, 26 episodes, 23 min; the image shows RahXephon, Ayato, and Reika. See also: RahXephon - Tagen Hensoukyoku.]
1:31min Series Opening - YouTube Video
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 10 10 9 10 9 9 Ggultra2764 [series:454#1552]
Rahxephon is an entry in the super robot genre of mecha anime focused on teenager Ayato Kamina coming to realize his seemingly ordinary life is a complete fabrication when he is caught in the middle of a conflict between the blue-blooded Mulian race and a military organization known as TERRA fighting to oppose their attempts to take over the world. Becoming the chosen pilot of the mecha Rahxephon, Ayato fights to protect humanity against the Mulian threat while trying to make sense of what is real to him and who he can trust in a crisis where he feels like a pawn to both sides fighting in the conflict.

Before I get going on the review, I should address one infamous bit of contention that older mecha anime fans usually go off about and that is accusing Rahxephon of being an Evangelion ripoff. While there are a number of scenes in Rahxephon similar to being depicted in Eva, said similarities are mostly superficial as there is a difference in moods and themes depicted between both titles. Eva milks Kaballah and Judeo-Christian imagery while dabbling into psychological insight with the problems facing its major characters and relishing in the dysfunction and despair faced by them. On the other hand, Rahxephon dabbles into music and Mayan lore for its plot elements and has themes more focused around revelation and transcendence. In spite of some similarities, both titles are completely different beasts for mecha anime and it is not that uncommon for mecha anime to utilize character and plot cliches found from past titles of the genre.

Setting aside that sordid matter, Rahxephon is primarily focused on Ayato's character as he tries making sense of what is a truth and a lie with his life as he tries determining who among the Mulians and TERRA he should trust. The series drops hints of many of the characters that he interact with having past connections to him or having ulterior motives for needing him. Understandably, Ayato does find himself quite angry and frustrated at points as he tries making sense of his predicament and coming to his own answers with what he should do in his situation. His quest to uncover what is real to him leads him to clash with both factions throughout the series as he tries to understand what he should believe in and learning who he can legitimately trust.

Besides Ayato, Rahxephon offers up a good deal of exploration of its futuristic world and characters. The series has a large cast of characters among both humanity and the Mulians who get fleshing out to understand their motives for engaging in battle with one another and what they seek from our male lead, notably Haruka Shitow who is shown to have strong emotions for our male lead and several factions attempting to manipulate events to benefit their goals. In addition, the series explores a good deal of the phenomena and technologies utilized among the characters, most notably the Tokyo Jupiter phenomena that the Mulians are isolated in and the mysterious Reika Mishima sharing some sort of bond to the Rahxephon. The series slowly unveils more to its characters and world as it progresses and helps add more to the complex mystery it offers up with what purpose Ayato has to both TERRA and the Mulians and builds up to an epic-filled ending that neatly wraps up many of its lingering plot developments.

Praises aside, Rahxephon does still run into its occasional bumps in quality. The first few episodes are a bit slow in their buildup as Ayato learns about his predicament while still inside Tokyo Jupiter, which may turn off first-time viewers of the series. Also, the series is still prone to some of the common flaws of many mecha anime titles as the first half of it squanders episodes on “monster of the week” plots with the Dolems deployed by the Mulians and the Rahxephon mecha not being too seriously challenged by many threats that it confronts, killing any sense of conflict and suspense out of any fight scenes that the mecha gets involved in.

For its time, Rahxephon was a gorgeous series to look at as it sported beautiful scenic shots, vivid color and a rich amount of detail put into characters, mecha and scenery. Animation for the series was above average in quality for its time as the series sported a number of elaborate animated sequences involving the various mecha fights and some visual effects milked at a number of points to show off the bafflement and confusion that Ayato undergoes when encountering a Dolem or the mysterious Reika Mishima.

On the musical end, Rahxephon sports a strong soundtrack offered through both Yoko Kanno's composition and Ichiko Matsumoto's vocal performances. With a mix of intense and hauntingly powerful musical tracks, the soundtrack is very fitting for the complicated and dramatic plot that the series offers up.

Overall, Rahxephon is a mostly well-executed mecha title that dabbles into existential drama and romance in its focus on Ayato's struggles. In spite of a few hiccups, the series offers a unique storytelling experience and strong presentation that will leave you hooked on it from start to finish.

Last updated Friday, February 12 2016. Created Sunday, January 06 2008.
Buy 9 9 10 10 9 Kari [series:454#798]
I love RahXephon; I think it’s better than Argento Soma. It has a well-written plot, great music, animation, character designs, and voice acting by both the Japanese and English speaking actors. The only thing that bugged me was the deaths of several likeable characters.

As for the dub, Chris Patton is terrific as Ayato Kamina, as are Vic Mignogna as Mamoru Torigai, and Cynthia Martinez as Hiroko Asahina.

RahXephon can be purchased new for $5.99-$25.99. I recommend buying the ADV release for the extra content.

Last updated Tuesday, April 04 2006. Created Tuesday, April 04 2006.
Buy 10 10 10 10 10 10 Violet D [series:454#1393]
I would say this is a must see. Beautiful art and great character design. I loved all the episodes from volume 1 to volume 7. I had to watch it through a couple of times to understand what the story was about. Once you watch the first volume you need to rent or buy the others. I bought all 7 volumes to add to my anime collection. This anime has it all drama, mystery,music and Romance. It has been awhile since I watched this one and this time I took my time and really observed everything about it. I paid attention to the story line the characters. Each little detail of their lives and why the events happened as they did. It is interesting to watch a filn in acomplely different way then when you first watched it.

Last updated Thursday, June 04 2009. Created Wednesday, June 08 2005.
Rent 10 10 8 9 9 9 Urmelis [series:454#1717]
If you like Neon Genesis Evangelion you realy should like Rahxephon. It has a lot in common with NGE, but also offers something really new. Story is about music so you'll hear tons of good music. This anime is really nice and I really enjoyed watching it. If you are worried that It'll be hard to understand so I can asure you that it is much easier to understand (unlike NGE).

Last updated Sunday, December 12 2004. Created Sunday, December 12 2004.
Rent Forbin [series:454#1573]
Update : I just watched the last 8 Episodes (I didn't the last time and skipped to the movie) and DAMN this has a f'd up ending. This changed my WHOLE review. It's still a rent but if you don't see the movie you are gonna be pissed.
As a whole this is a very good anime. If you just see the series you are gonna be confused. (And I agree with Devil Doll. Boy it doesn't explain ANYTHING)
Ok back to the review.
This is very much like Evangelion. It has a bunch of super beings flying around and fighting. The 'evil guys' the Mu have a ton of them, and the 'good guys' have one. Rahxephon. It goes fight fight fight, love story, confusion, and dumb ending.
But if you watch the movie, you are going to be in for suprise. The movie strips away all the confusing crap, shows you what was REALLY going on, and why the TV series was like that.
So my answer is, you better make sure you watch it all including the movie. Or you will just go WTF?

Last updated Thursday, September 30 2004. Created Sunday, September 19 2004.
Rent 10 9 8 6 8 9 Devil Doll [series:454#752]
[Score: 76% = Rent. Recommended SciFi/Mecha animes: Shin Seiki Evangelion, Uchuu no Stellvia, Koukaku Kidoutai STAND ALONE COMPLEX]

Yes, if you know and like Shin Seiki Evangelion this will help you find an easy way into this show: The visual design of the "RahXephon" is absolutely taken from Evangelion, the Dolems sure have certain Angel attributes, and several of the battles use patterns from certain Evangelion battles. Also, the structure of the involved organizations does remind of SEELE and NERV. But as for the underlying world and culture, RahXephon somehow played it safe and just wrote another Atlantis saga while Evangelion invented a new world. So Evangelion is the greater challenge and might consequently be more difficult to understand - which I am fine with.
Through the first couple of episodes I automatically tried to assign Evangelion roles/characters (Misato, Rei, Gendou, Asuka, ...) to persons I encountered in RahXephon. But then I came to a point where I wondered whether the underlying premise weren't closer to Silent Mobius (this idea seems to have been ignored for some episodes but is revived when the Vermilion appears and remains important for a number of episodes before it is finally dropped again).

So where is this one different from Evangelion? First of all, this series provides a large number of characters. I dislike only one of them, yet many of them remain underused in the end. And there's a pattern: In Evangelion many characters have more or less crippled minds - in RahXephon many characters are more or less suffering from unrequited love.
Then, the mecha elements and the tech-talk are much less important here. While Evangelion used a lot of time and effort to explain how and why certain things work, RahXephon doesn't even try to do so - about everything is left a mystery, more like in Serial Experiments Lain. I liked this Evangelion element of "low-level explanations" a lot because it allows the audience to concentrate on the "high-level mysteries" - therefore I am missing it desperately in RahXephon. In Evangelion, you may mess your head with questions like which intentions SEELE, NERV, Gendou and Rei have at certain stages; in RahXephon you have little chance for doing so because all you get about the background is very vague hints. That's what originally made me downgrade 'Series Story' quite a lot, but now that I've read some background stuff (about Mu) I'm fine with that.

As for the underlying symbolism, RahXephon obviously tried to provide something of equal weirdness as Evangelion did. Where NGE used the Kabbalah, biotech stuff and the A.T. field, RahXephon seems to be using ancient South American (Orin => Ollin, a Mexican sun god; and the name "Maya" of Ayato's mother obviously has a reason) and Babylonian (Ishtori => Ishtar, the light-bringer goddess) mythology, and ... MUsic (Xephon => "music of the world"; Dolem => Do-Re-Mi; and note how all their names like "Allegretto" or "Fortissimo" are Italian technical terms of musical tempi, performance styles etc.), as a mathematic science and technology! (Which causes the problem that, music being part of the storyline, this has a massive influence on the soundtrack, and not one that I particularly like... using music as a weapon will result in very disharmonious sounds every now and then.)
While Evangelion's Shinji has problems to handle other characters all the time, RahXephon's Ayato seem to be not only more mature (he's three years older than Shinji) but much easier to handle (the "problem children" are other characters in this series for quite some time). So while Evangelion focused a lot on Shinji's relation to his fellow pilots and Misato, RahXephon shows a large number of side characters and the relations amongst them. This made it hard to me to keep focused on the storyline. The final quarter of this series then puts its focus on Ayato again.

Anyway, this show is exciting, has nearly no filler elements, lots of foreshadowings, nice cliffhangers, and is full of suspense. I consider it difficult to understand who the main protagonists really are and what their intentions were, but that's true for other shows as well, so that's just another challenge. I was disappointed after the first viewing but reading some analysis (linked below) gave me more insight about what this story was actually all about. I hate to say that - but through the last quarter of this series it became very Evangelion-like again but made all the mistakes that both endings of NGE made. If you want to be happy with that show, maybe you'll have a lot of work to do, just like I am about to do. Especially reading James Churchward's book "The Lost Continent of Mu" (that Ayato himself mentions in episode 5) seems to be required in any case.
So - this series is not for those who demand for easy answers, as you won't get them. Even with a lot of speculation (see links below) many things remain unclear - such as what the intentions of the Mu exactly are, why the war really started (and why Mu didn't make use of their full firepower), how the black and white eggs were created, who built Tokyo Jupiter (and how that happened), and what Quon is up to in the end.
And RahXephon - Tagen Hensoukyoku isn't compatible enough to this series as to answer any of these.

Edit: I should note that reading Banksie's excellent site (see link below) about this series and then rewatching the series improved this whole thing for me significantly. It's just that NGE has a certain degree of magic that I don't get by this series - but maybe that's just me.

Last updated Tuesday, May 21 2013. Created Wednesday, September 08 2004.
Buy 10 10 10 10 8 8 Rogue_Noir [series:454#850]
Though it is obvious that this show is based off of Evangelion, calling it an Eva clone simply doesn't do justice. It has many unique aspects, especially this artsy and surreal feel throughout which I can't describe in words. Go watch it and see; you'll likely enjoy even if you've never seen Eva!

Last updated Tuesday, November 25 2003. Created Wednesday, November 12 2003.
Buy 10 10 10 10 10 10 Anonymous #864 [series:454#864]
I can't give enough positive praise to RahXephon. In fact, it is my new favorite. The animation is OVA quality, the music is simply amazing, and the plot is interesting and deep. For those of you who may argue it's simmilarities to EVA, I say who cares, because RahXephon is better than EVA in every way.

Last updated Sunday, July 20 2003. Created Sunday, July 20 2003.
Rent 8 8 9 7 8 7 Greg Bread [series:454#763]
There are a few plot differences here but after its all stripped down its basically like EVA. Not thats there's anything wrong with that, it would be surprising if they didnt make something similar. Its well animated and certain parts in the plot are quite original, the fact that this is an eva clone shouldn't bother you if you liked eva.
If you enjoyed eva I suggest you watch this, its not as good but it definetly could have been done worse.

Last updated Sunday, June 15 2003. Created Sunday, June 15 2003.
Buy 8 8 10 9 9 8 Anonymous #693 [series:454#693]
It starts out like evangelion, but by the 3 episode everything is fresh. Unlike eva the story is clear and the protag is likeable. Like eva there is a misato-like character along with a rei-like one. It also seems like every female character is has a crush on or in love with the protag. the ending is very fulfilling compared to the end of eva.

Last updated Tuesday, May 13 2003. Created Tuesday, May 13 2003.
Rent 9 8 7 8 6 6 Akito [series:454#472]
This series is just like Evangelion. Even the underlying meaning is similar,too. The main character is fighting not only to defeat the enemy but also to find out his true identity. The graphics design are pretty cool. However, I think that the theme is overused by anime producers. At first, the series seems confusing, however, the ending wraps it all so that it makes perfect sense. Pretty good anime to rent or watch but I don't recommend buying it.

Last updated Friday, January 03 2003. Created Friday, January 03 2003.

Other Sites
RahXephon - BONES site http://www.mediafactory.co.jp/anime/rahxephon/
Official Website for both the series and the movie (Japanese only)
RahXephon Online http://www.escaflowneonline.com/rahxephon/
A fansite about RahXephon - not quite complete but at least ...
RahXephon - Orchestrations and speculations http://www.khantazi.org/Rec/Anime/Index.html
A very detailed site about the background of RahXephon, with an excellent timeline summary of the story

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