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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Secret Santa Review: Xam'd: Lost Memories

This is the second edition of the secret Santa review brought to you thanks to the efforts of the Reverse Thieves. Enjoy this review of Xam'd: Lost Memories by studio BONES.

What the hell is this thing?!

At the height of the anime bubble in 2008, there were many anime titles getting produced. Many of these titles were visibly trying to cater to a Western audience.  Xam'd: Lost Memories is one of these titles. Unfortunately, due to the bubble and the massive quantity of different shows released at that time, this impressive sci-fi show has flown under my radar. So when Sentai Filmworks licensed this series earlier this year, I was sort of confused as to what this show is and why was it licensed. I now know as to why it was licensed: It's effing awesome!

So I dove straight into this series knowing nothing about it. The first thing I noticed just how pretty it was in high definition. The characters that were first introduced seemed somewhat bland and didn't really grab me at first. Of course the first episode spent a lot of time introducing all the characters and sort of show what their relationships were. Furthermore, the show did not wait to start weaving a story and right away the audience are thrust into a conflict. It appears that there are factions who are still fighting a war but it's not clear as to who is who and what their intentions are. And of course the main character ends up being mixed up with all the fighting.

Details. Details everywhere.

As I stated before, this animated series looks gorgeous in high definition. There are many painted environments as the series goes from place to place such as villages and towns. All the machinery is well detailed as well as attention is given to all the various rifles that are used throughout the series.  The animation in the opening is fairly consistent with the animation in the series. As you can see the animation is smooth and there is a lot of action. The show has a lot of that and in addition there are quite spectacular animations of destruction. Overall this series is quite a visual feast.

Check out this opening.

As you probably have noticed, the openings and closings are entirely in English which is quite rare. The regular soundtrack does a good job setting the mood but doesn't really stand out and is fairly average in that respect. The Japanese voice cast was very competent at acting out all the characters and conveying their emotions. Unfortunately I did not try watching with the English dub, but from looking at the names of the cast they appear to be standard Sentai Filmworks talent.

So the series is mainly about a boy, Akiyuki Takehara, who gets caught up in an explosion that grants him powers that change him into a biological weapon much like The Hulk. However, he does not initially know how to fully control this power or what the actual purpose of it is. An enigmatic girl named Nakiami from a free lance postal air-ship flies over, and not only helps Akiyuki from being consumed by his new power, but also adopts him until he gains control. The first half of the series basically is his journey to master these new powers. Now there is a lot more going on than Akiyuki's journey and this makes the first half a bit hard to watch and impossible to marathon. Now the second part of the series is a bit easier to swallow since most facts were already presented to the viewer or are once again shown for clarity. Despite the initial confusion, the series did pull me in and I wanted to see more and more of the story. In short, the story is very dense which is somewhat hard to swallow for many people, but it is rewarding to keep watching as things become more clarified along the way.

Can you recognize the gun on the left?

Putting all this together it should be no surprise that Xam'D: Lost Memories is a must watch series. I would recommend this to anyone. If I were to give this series a number score, it would be an 89/100. Although a word of warning, this series should not be marathoned and I do recommend watching it twice as the second time around, the series is more enjoyable when everything makes sense.

4 comments:

  1. From just the OP, it looks a bit like a lengthened, toned-down REDLINE? Does it give that same REDLINE-ish action feel?

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  2. @Mushyrulez I have not yet seen REDLINE, but from what I do know, I suppose it is somewhat of a toned-down REDLINE. Every episode has some action.

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  3. Well I've been on the fence for this series for awhile now. I want to buy it because it just looks really frigen cool. But I was wondering if the story was any good. You seem to say it was, so I'll have to check it out. Also I don't think 2008 is really the peak of anime boom, I think the peak was more around 2006. But that's just what I think *shrug* .

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  4. Great review!

    There's an article about Xam'd here which I think may interest you - http://www.mangauk.com/?p=transformers

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