“…What? Do I have something in my face?”
Gentlemen, I like BONES.
Gentlemen, I like BONES.
Gentlemen, I love BONES.
Everything that BONES studio did in the past is godly for me (well, all except the plot of Full Metal Alchemist but that’s another story.) I mean, having the BONES logo on it it’s the same as saying it will have a suberb quality and a great plot. I’ve been following BONES works since RahXephon , so it’s not surprising I’m drooling over their new anime, Xam’d: Lost Memories.
Another thing that only adds up to the hype is this was a secret project from BONES, with only some elusive posters refering to a “Bonen no Xamdou” anime. Only on this year’s E3 it was revealed it was a anime release for the Playstation Network (or to be short, PSN), meaning that Xam’d is only avaliable for owners of a PS3 currently. Will this be aired on television channels someday? I hope so.
Prologue of War
The episode starts with scenes of some kind of ruins, with a fountain filled of green glowing cocoons and a old woman with blue eyes and pale complexion filling condoms with them and giving them to albino kids with ligh purple eyes…Yes, the first scene portrays drug mules…
She’s too handy with those condoms.
I wonder what’s the street market price of it.
Meanwhile, we skip to a flying aircraft where we see a girl doing some plant cloning/cultivation in test tubes on her cabin. This girl, Nakiami, has a resemblance to Nausicaa, like most of the stuff relating to her. Another thing to notice is her blue eyes and similar eyemarks to the old lady in the ruins.
All this time, the off voice was from the ship’s captain, a skimp cloth wearing megane ponytail mature woman (aka, MILF) which was reading some sort of diary, which I suppose it was Nakiami’s. Then, she notice through her binoculars a bunch of Government airships. The anime imply there is a ongoing conflict between the Northen Government and the Southern Continent, the two main military factions and this crew is a neutral ship that acts as a sort of couriers (you can see them carrying letters in the OP and the captain refer to a Postal Law).
The ship goes into alert and everyone get’s into their position, since the number of Government ships is bigger than 20, implying a bombardment attack. At this time, we can check the delicious steampunk technology like light-sign communication, a oldschool radar, the hoses used to speak with the crew usually found in old steamships.
To avoid the bombardment, they search for the nearest dock so they can be shielded. And that would be Sentan Island, so they send Nakiami as a scout in a small single jet engine aircraft which I dubbed Cloud Rider. I’m not sure if this was on purpose, but Nakiami looks even more like Nausicaa while riding her ship…
It isn’t old tech, it’s Steampunk!
“Shut Up and Explode” by Boom Boom Sattellites.
Whoa….impressive track from this Japanese Rock and Electronica band, which also contributed to the soundtrack of 2004′s Appleseed movie. The animation of the OP is actually synched with the song sucessfully, which is an area where most OP’s fail. I enjoy how they depict the travel of that latter from the hands of a unknown female character (if you check closely, she has tits.) to the hands of Akiyuki, the main character of the anime. Another great moment is the scene where they portray the small fight with the Humanform Weapon (the big huge red thing, I’ll explain about them on the next post) and the small rewinds which are synched with the song.
Peaceful Island’s Life
so, now we finally see the main character, Akiyuki, and his life on Sentan Island. And like any typical student, he’s late for school (Asians don’t know to buy good alarm clocks or what?). And worse, he skips breakfast (which is a crazy mix of Ocidental and Japanese breakfast; maybe it hints his parents are from different places?) AND he tries to ditch having to take his father’s bento to his clinic. Too bad his bycicle chain pops out in the worse possible moment so his mom gets him and demands him to take his father’s bento. nice detail; his father and mom are making a small time-out from each other; possibly cause his father is just as lazy as Akiyuki.
Next we have Furuichi, a glass dude and a friend of Akiyuki teaching Aikido to a bunch of kids ( I think it is Aikido….). Next, he spars a bit with Haru, a girl which is also a friend of Akiyuki. Furuichi is tottaly owned by Haru. Even I would want to be floored by those blue eyes of Haru. Which lead us to an interesting detail: the main girls, Naikiami and Haru have both blue eyes. Does this hints something, besides the obvious romantic developments every anime have? After the beating down they decide to finish the training, leaving away with Haru’s younger sister, which is wearing a crutch.
I know Kung-Fu
…but who cares? You can floor me anytime, baby.
Akiyuki, late as always, is speeding down the road on his bike when he almost runs over a Nekomata, a kind of cat/rabbit animal native to the island. So, he decides to take a shortcut, leaving his bike near some stairs while he goes on foot following some back roads and small hills. Moments later, his friends furuichi and Haru spot his bike and pity Akiyuki’s poor fate as middle-man between his parent. Adding to the injury, they make bets if he will be late or not. Nice friends, heh?
Akiyuki reaches his father’s clinic,which already has a poor lady waiting outside for the lazy doc to wake up. He wakes up dad rather violently, delivers the bento and grumbles with him for being a pig then rushes again, this time to the shool bus.
I only need 30 m to make my room like that.
The Fated Girl
From this scene onwards, we now realize that Sentan Island isn’t just a regular village and it has a quite strong military presence, namely the Southern Continent forces. Even the bus has a soldier there, counting and checking the students entering it. I’ve noticed a bit of clash between modern design and steampunk, like Akiyuki’s high-tech bike and the schoolbus hard edged old design. Poor Akiyuki finally reaches the bus on time, which will cost Furuichi’s some ice cream (he lost the bet with Haru.)
So, as a good boy he is (and because Furuichi is pissed with him), Akiyuki goes to the end of the line for the bus. But wait, who’s there too? It’s the albino girl which was being given the green cocoon at the start of the episode, wearing some old-fashioned schoolgirl suit. Akiyuki, being the good samaritan he is (aka, ladies man), notices she doesn’t have a armband and assumes she’s a foreign student, so he gives her his own and smooth talks the guard out. A funny detail is that the guard seemed to be expecting 38 students. Also, I’ve noticed the look Haru had after this incident…The bus has it’s own radio speakers and earphones to better listen, but like any military service it transmits military news. Akiyuki notices outside that there is an increase of Inquiry Ships, which seems to be the name given to the standard battle airships.
“Hmm, new student…kinda short, but has a cute ass.
This time , we see the inside of the tower which seems to act as a military dock and base. More specifically, the Command Room with the typical moustache general/commander/boss. They notice the upcoming fleet from the Northern Government and worse, it’s new models and not included in any official flight plan. Let me explain a bit about some things: these two faction, Northern Government and the Southern Continent seem to be placed at the North and South…and in the middle there is the Free Zone, a kind of neutral ground with a undefined border. Sentan Island has some military presence, sure, but it’s mainly civilian territory and the North is attacking it now. No fair play in war, it seems.
Meanwhile the schoolbus reaches the school (where else would he go?) and the students leave the bus. The mysterious girl lags behind on purpose, picks the school bag she was carrying, grabs a sort of knife/pen and sticks it on the bag. Then , BOOM! A huge explosion which opens up the bus like a tin can and splits the students all around with the shockwave. Akiyuki, which was the first to recover from the blast, sees a floating light over the remains of the bus and dashes for Akiyuki, lodging itself on Akiyuki’s right arm, causing extreme pain on him. Furuichi, who hasn’t seen nothing of it, also appears to recover and goes comfort Haru, which is still in shock from what happened. Furuichi fears that they may be purged. This is an important detail; does this mean the military purges the civilian zones that are affected by war? So that means the Free Zone gets smaller and smaller?
Akiyuki notices that the strange albino girl is still in the bus and goes rescue her, in spite of Furuichi’s warnings. He notices that the bus has some strange green goo inside and a pain on his arm makes him notice that a blue crystal is embebbed on the arm and moving around. Nevertheless, he tries to help the girl and notice that the green goo actually came from a wound the girl has on her abdomen. While dying, she apologizes for involving him, that her name is Nazuna and insures that he will be fine, along “with our lost memory: Xam’d”. She touches his forehead, making a small red crystal appear, similar to hindu’s tilaka mark which then evolves to a mask covering his face and smothering him . That place in the forehead is also associated with the Third Eye, and a mark on that place normally represents a state of enlightment. Meanwhile, some troops arrive and start checking the place and the students.
Sure! I was just inseminated in my arm by an alien green light! I was still a virgin!
The courier airship I’ve mentioned in the first parts finally arrrives near Sentan Island. Nakiami leaves the proximity of the ship to check the island for herself, which gives origins to some “less than friendly” words by the captain. Akiyuki’s still transforming, along with a kickass melodic song, and the end result is something I would describe as a “human white missile man”. Furiuchi, which has been patching up the students with some first aids enters the wreck of the bus along with a soldier, only to find the transformed Akiyuki. Furiuchi runs with his tail between his legs while Haru herself enters the wreck too and the soldier readies to fire. He shoots 4 bullets into the strange being body, but Haru listen to Akiyuki’s voice saying “I want to live…”. The Northern Government fleet arrives and begins to drop it’s mysterious cargo into the town…
“Vacancy” by Kylee
Another great song on this anime, which makes me extremely happy as the audiophile I am. The fact both the Op and the ED are in English is consistant with the intended internationalization of the anime for the PSN. The best part of the ED is near the end, where we see Nakiami riding her Cloud Rider and smiling. MOE!!!
Some Early Conclusions
One thing I’ve noticed is the several influences this anime seems to have: the mysterious “cult” has some RahXephon feeling, along with Eureka Seven and Nausicaa’s kind of heroin. Sentan Island could be a small hidden hommage to Renton, and the courier crew is remniscent of Gekkostate. The soundtrack was a bit absent on this ep, but to compensate, the song on Akiyuki’s transformation was epic enough to make me rip it for my cellphone. But I’ll be short and end it here, because I’ve got hold of the episode one along with episode two, so I can speak with better detail in the next post.