Xam'd: Lost Memories
Akiyuki Takehara was on the way to school when his school bus was blown up by a strange white-haired girl bent on turning people into Xam'd. Akiyuki was affected by the explosion and morphs into a Xam'd, a strange being that will go on a rampage before eventually turning to stone. However, he was stopped by a red-haired warrior named Nakiami, who possesses the ability to tame Xam'd and, in the process, stop Akiyuki from turning to stone. However, Akiyuki must now live his life as an outcast. Is there a greater meaning to being a Xam'd? How the hell did they come up with a name like Xam'd, anyway?!
It must have been mentioned before by our Former Editor-in-Chief about how useful post-it notes are, that you can stick them to the side of the television while watching to remind you of the Who, What, When, Where, and How of a series. Because you are going to need a stack of them for Xam'd.
OK, so I was like totally lost from the beginning of episode 1. And I never found my way out. It's like being on Sentan Island itself. See, Sentan is on an island caught in the middle of a war between the North and the South, both of which are developing some strange weapons utilizing witchcraft (believe you me these are harder to defuse than conventional bombs). So you would think that the people who uses witchcraft are in high demand? But no: for reasons unknown to me, these Tessik are being chased from their homeland. But of course, being the tribal Tessik, they are divided into pro-north and anti-north (or could be pro-south) sides, and using their magic, they should have published a self-help book How to Get Along for Idiots™ because it's guaranteed to bring in the molah unless they failed to file for copyright. It's all very confusing. But then again, it keeps you on the edge because you just gotta know more!
Anyway, Akiyuki has turned into a Xam'd, and a Tessik girl Nakiami had saved him and taught him how to live as a Xam'd. Of course, I would have given anything to be a Xam'd because of the special abilities, and in essence turning into a hard-to-defuse bomb. But as any well respected story writer would have it, Xam'd are not likable in Sentan Island (or anywhere else for that matter), so Akiyuki gets to increase the angst factor.
But hold it guys. Bear with me for a couple of minutes and you'll see why Xam'd is still worth your 10 hours, so much so that I marathoned the series.
It's really not so much the where, when, how or why, but the who. Being from the creators of Eureka Seven, the strong and highly realistic characterization that defined that series is seen again in Xam'd. There was never a character that I hated in Xam'd, not even the enemies. Xam'd is a winner in the way they handled their main character Akiyuki. He may have his down time, but he never became whiny the way Shinji did in Evangelion. And he was never truly annoying the way I found Renton (Eureka Seven) to be. He may be a kid, but he always tries to make the best of it. It's refreshing to have a protagonist who is able to see bright sides despite the background of war and suffering. The major plus, though, as that he can motivate others without resorting to shouting.
My special soft spot goes out to the Tessik girl Nakiami, who has left her homeland to help the Xam'd find salvation. But I may have been tricked here and feel particularly biased because she looks like she was blue printed from Nausicaa, complete with a pet, the ability to communicate with the Xam'd, spirits, and a small, flying craft. Although she does suffer from the stereotypical strong silent type who doesn't smile often, you still feel for her as the burden of the world rest on those slim shoulders. And being the guardian of Xam'd, I was secretly glad she did not end up as a mere love interest.
The "real" love interest comes in the form of Nishimura Haru, Akiyuki's classmate. Although she does not have that much screen time compared to Nakiami, Haru's character does make a point and adds value whenever she makes an appearance. That way, she is not relegated to the part of the vase of the plot.
My favorite is definitely Lady Ishuu Benikawa, the captain of the postal ship where the motley crew reside and Nakiami's guardian. This is one tough lady that nobody should mess with because she has the power to dock your pay or give a raise!
I could go on and on about Xam'd's suite of characters, how realistic they are, and why I like all of them, but I shall spare the readers. The problem is that at 26 episodes, this series feel too short, and the ending felt rather like a sudden bang without explanation to the whole point of the conflict. But I do care deeply for all the characters, and kudos to the creators who showed what eventually happened to them - albeit some with a more concrete ending (others are a little more open-ended).
It's a good watch, but trust me: keep those post-its ready. — Diane Tiu
Recommended Audience: Mature audience, preferably teens and above. It's war after all, you know.
Version(s) Viewed: Web release
Review Status: Full (26/26)
Xam'd: Lost Memories © 2008 Bones
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