Released by: Madman Entertainment.
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Volume three of RahXephon brings in on a Ayato who has now settled into his role with TERRA as pilot of the RahXephon. As commented on by Haruka he even seems to have begun to enjoy his work finding a sense of purpose and place in it. However he still harbours lingering doubts about where he wants to be, something the Mu exploit in Episode 11. He becomes trapped in idealised fantasy world created by the Mu to remove him from the field of play by letting him have whatever he wants. Nicely, Ayato is fully aware that this isn't real and yet he is very tempted - especially as the Mu are aware of Haruka's intentions towards Ayato and they misjudge slightly in trying to use that.
That episode is well worthy of studying to understand how film can convey unease and the surreal incongruity of where Ayato is. It is nicely conveyed that Ayato may well be getting everything he wants but that this is very very wrong. Given that the series continues for another four volumes it should come as no great surpise to find that Ayato does manage to escape the trap with Ixtli's help. What is interesting is the finality of the choice he made, the series is clearly signally that events are now well in motion. Events that may well lead to places that Ayato really doesn't want to go - a price is soon to be paid.
Resonance brings us to a closer examination of Quon and her role. As a result of her sudden awakening and awareness of an 'instrument' awaiting her she collapses - providing the perfect pretext for the Bahbem Foundation to move in and begin showing their hand. Indeed the end of this volume is the arrival of Bahbem Foundation's next representative, Helena. Given the Foundations actions towards a reporter and Isshki's already quite callous and calculating manner it is quite clear that stronger Foundation control is not at all desirable even though we have still no clear idea of their end goal.
'War in the Rememberance' is a nice character study that fleshes out the backstory a little more by giving us a good glimpse into Commander Kunnugi's history. We find that not only did the Mu arrive unannounced but that humanity fired the first shots that lead to the current hostilities and that the Commander himself was the man that carried out that order. Not to mention was left hung and dry by his superior officer to face the music on the consequences of that order. The choice he made to follow orders has had a profound effect on his life costing him not only his career in the Japanese military but his family life as well.
All in all this has the usual nice mix of tantilising revelation and character development I have come to expect from this series. The pieces are in motion now so again we don't have any major twists here but you can see it is building to one. We also are nearing the halfway mark and it is nice to see that the series has been answering questions as it goes but doing it in such a way as to open new ones as you learn the answer to the previous questions. This is assured story telling and is a pleasure to watch.
Continuing as I did for the previous volumes I have some speculation and thoughts here coming from watching the third volume. This is spoiler rich so read it only if you have seen the episodes in question.