Bounen no Xamdou
Released Year : July 15, 2008 to February 4, 2009
No of Episodes : 26
Genre : Action,Military,Sci-Fi
Plot : Sentan Island is a small island surrounded by the Yuden Sea. It exists in a state of dreamlike tranquility, cut off from the war between the Northern Government and the Southern Continent Free Zone. Our hero, Akiyuki Takehara, lives on Sentain Island along with his mother Fusa. He is currently separated from his father, the town doctor Ryuzo, but the bond between father and son remains. One day, after taking Ryuzo the lunch that Fusa has made for him as usual, Akiyuki arrives at school, where he is caught up in an explosion along with his friends, Haru and Furuichi. The explosion produces a mysterious light, which enters Akiyuki's arm, causing him excruciating pain. He's given no time to understand it, however, as the white-haired girl who rode on the bus with him guides him to a power unlike anything he's ever known.
Our Review : "Everyday I wake up thinking it'll be okay. 'Cause you promised me that, you'd come back some day. My heart is throbbing but I will wait. And I'll strive... to stay strong..."
Try as I might, I cannot think of a song that matches the content of a series better than the first ED of Xam'd: Lost Memories. If you wanted to, you could probably put these lyrics as the synopsis of the series and have it hold the same effect as the current.
Xam'd is not a series that everyone will enjoy. At first glance, it would appear to be another action series that people watch to see intense fight scenes and fast pacing. While the action scenes that are included are displayed beautifully, this is not what I, or anyone else, should classify as any other action-adventure. If that is what you are looking for, Xam'd may not be the right fit.
However, if you want to watch a series that will make you think, or perhaps are looking for a hidden gem that will tug at your heart-strings, you should seriously consider picking this up. It is not fast-paced, and I cannot stress that enough. You have to be able to think and decipher hidden messages in the plot to enjoy Xam'd to its full extent.
Set in a world where the two major continents, the North and the South, are fighting a bloody war that is beginning to take civilian lives, Xam'd does a brilliant job of displaying the devastation, loss, and beauty of war. The story, while confusing, accurately depicts the fight between two warring factions who both believe are doing the right thing. Let's get this straight. War is NOT simple, and in a world as complex as the one Xam'd is situated in, it is even more complicated.
I am not going to explain any part of the story in detail, because I believe that one of the major attractions of this series is being able to discover for yourself what is going on. I will say this however; if you find yourself lost, do not hesitate to re-watch certain episodes, especially ones around episode 20, where the story really begins to get serious. The show goes from a more light-hearted mood to very serious rather quickly, and begins leading the viewer down a twisted path where you WILL find yourself lost at least once or twice. But such is a story of love and war.
Akiyuki, the main protagonist of Xam'd, at first seems like any other shallow MC that the industry spits out 10 times a season. While he is similar to many MC's in the past (Especially Renton Thurston, another one of BONES' brain childs') he has one major thing going for him.
Akiyuki has a heart, and an undying love for his friends and family, especially his child hood friend, Haru. This heart of Akiyuki's will guide him on a quest across his world to discover why he was chosen to lead a new life as a Xam'd, but to find his passion for the ones he loves.
If there is one negative aspect of this show, it's that it brings in A LOT of characters, while only truly developing a handful throughout. The three main protagonists are quickly pinned as Akiyuki, Nakiami, and Haru. With them, however, each protagonists brings in more characters that the viewer my find difficult connecting to.
Akiyuki brings his parents, who get a lot of screen time with most of the development coming with his father.
Nakiami brings an entire ship full of characters with her, of which, only three (Raigyo, Ishu, and Yango) get a true development to the point where the viewer will connect with them on a certain level. Along with the crew, Nakiami also brings Lady Sannova, the white-haired children, and also her village of Tenjo and Tessik peoples, some of which are not thoroughly explained. The whole religion aspect of the story is an extremely weak point of the story, as it does not truly get proper development.
Haru brings her family and good friend Naruichi into the story, of which her sister Midori is the only to get a decent level of development.
The military comes in without a true explanation as well, but the viewer will quickly pin Toujirou and company as the main antagonists of the story. Throughout the show, you will need to re-watch certain parts to be able to understand what exactly the whole military-versus-religion thing is really about. Not until the end will you really be able to understand, so don't fret if you get to around episode 23 and still aren't too positive about what's going on.
Akiyuki is without a doubt the main character of the show, and a beautiful one at that. On his journey from his home island of Sentan to the Northern continent, he has many struggles to deal with. He handles them quite well, from his love and want to be reunited with Haru, to understanding a war which he has been thrust into unwillingly. You will find a quick connection with Akiyuki, and share his tears, as well as smiles.
Nakiami, however, is a more difficult character to understand. She goes VERY late into the story without getting a true explanation of who exactly she is, and why exactly she has such a connection with the Xam'ds. She is a character completely shrouded in mystery, but one that will steal your heart regardless. It is tough not to grow to love her as the story progresses, and by the end, you will shed a tear or two if you have watched the series correctly.
Haru is a girl that has experienced great loss in her life, and with her sudden and even greater loss of Akiyuki, this character will tug at your heart-strings like few characters are able to. You will find yourself rooting for her with every action she takes, and although I will admit I was FUCKING PISSED when she cut her hair (what's with BONES and having female leads cut their hair half way through? First Talho and now this), she was my favorite character when I finished the show.
These three MC's, as well as the several side characters that get an actual development (Raigyo, Yango, Midori, Ryuzuo, Toujirou) will bring you on a ride that I can guarantee you will not soon forget.
As beautiful as the story and characters are, it is the sound and animation that really bring this series to life. I am a huge fan of BONES' choices for the OST. The ED's and OP's are awesome, and the music that plays throughout is beautiful and heart-warming.
The animation is on another level when compared to other series of the same genre. While the character designs are quite unique and vibrant, it is the design of the world as a whole that makes this story beautiful. You will find yourself pausing to admire the amazing detail this studio put into making this series a real winner.
As the series comes to its end, you may find yourself struggling to hold back a few tears. The ending is beautiful, and I'll admit that even thinking about it clouds my eyes. A word of advice for the ending, Ishu is not rambling some incoherent poem in the background as the final credits begin to roll. Listen to (or in most peoples case, read) what she is saying and pay attention to what is being shown to you. It is only then that the true power of this ending with touch your soul.
As I said before, Xam'd is not for everyone, but if you close this review with even a slight interest in the story, characters, or art, then please, check out Xam'd: Lost Memories. It is not often that you can find a series as beautiful and moving as the tale of Xam'd, and the opportunity should not be passed up.
Personal Note: This is my first ever review. Please help me out with suggestions, tips, and constructive criticism through messages, or feel free to send me a friends request and post on my wall. Thanks everyone.