Released by: Madman Entertainment.
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Everything collapses down to the choice Ayato must make about the shape of the world to come. The tuning can not be averted and Ayato realises this, deciding that he has to complete the Xephon if he wishes to protect Haruka. Of course it isn't as simple as that as the price of becoming a God is higher than anyone, especially Bahbem, has told him. With the Mu now rampant in the world and making rash choices of their own the feeling of impending apocalypse carries through these episodes.
At last people stop talking obliquely and Bahbem reveals his true motivations even as the world faces its end. This all winds up with Ayato making his choice and the consequences of that. It culminates in an ending to the series that some might see as a bit of a cop out. Personally I think it caps the series in precisely the way it should and has been building to since the very first few episodes. It is worth watching through the end credits as the series ends with a coda then shows credits before finally showing a last few scenes that explains precisely where a certain prominent image in the series has come from.
These final scenes engender for me the same feeling as that derived from reading a good book. The story is now complete and while it would be nice to know more about these characters and their world it isn't needed. The tale has the requisite closure and completeness. I have been very impressed with this series and it is heartening to see that it followed through the entire way.
It has been something that I have been lamenting of late, the mid to late eightees saw an explosion of anime that was science fiction at its best. Speculative, often philosophical and usually with a nicely twisting story they brought images of a different world to life with a clarity and sharpness few other visual media achieve. I am thinking of titles like 'Akira', 'PatLabor the movie', 'Winds of Amnesia', 'Appleseed', 'Dominion Tank Police', 'Battle Angel Alita', 'Wings of Honnemesai' - all titles that took you to a future that might have been with often striking imagery. Anime since the early to mid ninties has retreated from this with harem comedies, samurai epics and fantasy titles that often retred well established conventions. It isn't that these series are bad, far from it, more that they don't try to reach as far as once they did. Possibly thanks to the rising costs of developing these series anime as a genre got a little more timid and mainstream in its thinking.
But with the return of series like 'Cowboy Bebop' and 'RahXephon' we seem to be seeing a return of the visually striking near future to far future stories. Something I am happy to see as they are more to my tastes. I half wonder if the explosion in CG techniques is now allowing animators to tell visually complicated stories much more cheaply than ever before. It probably is a combination of the increased revenue that the newer markets outside Japan bring and new techniques. Either way I am glad to see the return of series like this. It has been a wild and fun ride that while I am a little sad to see finished I am very happy to have reached a good ending to. This one deserves to be in almost any anime collectors collection.
As a final entry for this series I have some final thoughts here coming from watching this seventh volume. This is spoiler rich so read it only if you have seen the episodes in question.