Set the VCR: It was you, it was always you…

In a reasonably good anime series, there are “aww…” moments, and there are “A-HA!” moments. “Aww..” moments usually happen when dealing with relationships, sometimes between parents and children, sometimes between friends and family, but most of the time it happens between significant others. “A-HA!” moments occur when a major plot twist  or loose end is finally concluded or tied up. Both moments offer an amount of satisfaction when through, and both moments tug at your heartstrings. However, there aren’t many cases when the “aww…” moments and the “A-HA!” moments are one in the same.

For this Set the VCR moment, I chose what I believe was the defining moment of a magnificently done series, RahXephon.

RahXephon/ dir. Yutaka Izubuchi/ Movement 26 “Time Enough For Love”/ 2002

(hit the jump to witness this moment)


Background

As with most anime series, any attempt at explaining all the complexities of the story is just absurd (much like trying to explain the complexities of the story to the TV show LOST). So I will attempt to simplify RahXephon‘s story into a short synopsis. Wish me luck…

The setting of RahXephon is war against pan-dimensional invaders known as Mulians, or the Mu. The main protagonist of the series is a 17- year old, teenage boy and artist named Ayato Kamina, who is dragged into the war against his will, and is the only one who can pilot the “mecha” RahXephon. Which is the only thing that can defeat the Mu, and “save the world.” Of course, it’s not that simple as some complicated dramatic shit goes on for both sides of the war.

Believe me, it’s an intriguing series, one worth watching. The mecha designs seems inspired by early Latin-American, pre- Columbian civilizations, and the series, which has a beautiful score, is focused on the premise of “music changing the world” as RahXephon and other mechas in the series all attack via what seems like singing. Even Ayato, is not called a pilot, but the “instrumentalist” of the RahXephon.

The Set-up

Now even though at its core story RahXephon is a coming of age, mecha type story, the most compelling plot line of the series was that of the relationship between Ayato Kamina and Haruka Shitow. Throughout the series, even though we see that Haruka is much more mature (age 29) compared to Ayato (age 17), we get a sense that they’ve met before. Naturally, there are other love interests that get in the way, like Haruka’s younger sister, and there is always the omninous “dream girl” that Ayato always seems to paint. Eventually we find out that Haruka and Ayato met and dated a long time ago, but because of the invasion of the Mu, and some weird time-distortion dimension (don’t ask, just watch the series) Ayato aged at a much slower pace. In the end, Ayato saves the world, and he and Haruka realize that they were meant to be together.

Set the VCR

So the series ends, the credits roll, and if this were a theater, you probably would have left. But this Set the VCR moment happens after the final credits of the series rolls. We now know that Haruka and Ayato met a long time ago and that they were meant for each other, but what of the “dream girl” that Ayato always paints. It is assumed that the “dream girl” was Reika Mishima, who was just an illusion of Ayato. A “stand-in” for his real love Haruka. But after the credits, we learn that the omninous “dream girl” in the painting was not Reika, but was ACTUALLY Haruka, and that the painting was in fact a reminder of the first time Ayato and Haruka met. In a sense, “it was you, it was always you…” Watch that touching moment here:

The Impact

That last scene is first thing that pops in my mind when I think of RahXephon. The RahXephon series in general was stellar. The best parts being the soft moments and slow revealing of the relationship between Ayato and Haruka. I could not think of a better way to wrap-up and tie a neat little bow around the series than those last two minutes after the credits. Director Yutaka Izubuchi and the writers could have easily gone the route of “that’s it we’re done”, but to end with that subtle little tie-back to one of the better plot lines was not only well done, it made the conclusion of RahXephon that much more satisfying and it did the improbable thing of combining the “aww…” moment with the “A-HA!” moment.

Now in real life, most of the time your “dream girl,” that one that you always draw/ paint/ write about, is not necessarily the girl that was meant for you. And yeah, the “love story  in the middle of the war” and “it was always YOU, I loved” type moments are many times overly cheesy and sappy, but for those that know me, or for those that have read most of this blog, you know (or you can tell) I’m actually a hopeless romantic at heart.

And yeah, I kind of hope that the “dream girl” that I always draw/ paint/ write about IS actually the one meant for me as well…

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