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.
As many people have already said, this anime is produced by the same people who brought you Eureka 7. Keep that in mind if you plan on watching this anime.
First off, check out the OP. Holy jebus it's sweet. Catches you instantly, and gets you all excited for what looks (judging from the animation quality) an awesome show. In some respects, this is a let down. While the animation is superb, the soundtrack is hauntingly good, and the characters are generally quite fleshed out (just enough info for you to find them interesting)... the story is near random. This anime seems confused as to
what it's trying to say. On the one hand, we are basically following Akiyuki on his journey becoming a Xam'd, which is done quite well in terms of painting a comprehensive picture of the trials he endures.
Then it falls apart. The world as it is presented is split into two warring hemispheres, with some kinda naturalist "Tessik" tribe caught in the middle. No justification is ever given for this war, and for some unknown reason the Tessik are ostracized by everybody. As the series progresses, I was torn. In some regards, it's amazing: The characters are brought to life fully. You understand their hopes and dreams, and why they may be sabotaging their own attempts to reach them. In other regards, it's confusing and disappointing: Things keep happening to Akiyuki with no background reason, and the whole concept of a Xam'd is some kind of forbidden topic. Also, side stories seem to be the order of the day. A LOT of episodes are devoted to Nakiami's side trips, where she always seems to be preventing some poor sap from being engulfed by the Xam'd in him. (They also never explain the nature of a Xam'd... that's for you to decide. And good luck figuring out what the deal is with Human-form weapons...)
Conclusions? Well, it was a fun series to watch, but you'll get MUCH more out of it if you focus on a character driven storyboard. Pay attention to character interactions over actual plot, and you'll be much more satisfied. Otherwise you'll end up like me, wishing the creators had decided to actually make the 50 odd episodes that would have barely been sufficient to explain the story they threw at you, instead of cramming way to many (admittedly interesting) ideas into a mere 26 eps. Bottom line: If you found Eureka 7 too slow, but liked the ideas... you'll have a good time with Xam'd: Lost Memories. But you'll still wind up with a couple wtf moments and an abrupt ending.
I just finished watching this anime through the second time, and it has great replay value. The story is very intricate and interconnected so don't expect to grasp all of it the first time through, but the overall messages and themes are impressively powerful. It's got action, don't worry. Lots.
I suppose I'll start with the story first, STORY:
The beginning of the series is very focused on a few characters, and slowly branches out to include more and more characters in the plot until towards the end all of the characters are being covered but the focus is where it should be. Things start rather slow
I think in the beginning, but the other elements really hold it together and make it worth sticking around for. I don't think many people will fully understand the resolution, so the tip I can give you without spoiling the show is to understand Akiyuki's connection to Xam'd. Pretty vague, huh? Well if you really string together various scenes and points of view of many of the characters the entire world really comes together rather complete and stunning. For anyone who likes depth in story I strongly reccomend Xam'd: Lost Memories. It might be a bit unknown in terms of popularity but that's because it's a very character driven story along with many, many scenes in a single episode so the faint of heart might not like the jumps between settings so quickly. Especially when the story crosses dialogue from one character with scenery from someplace completely different. The show has a very individual look on people and life in general, which made the plot intensely likable for me. Don't worry, the ending doesn't upset in my book.
Next up, PICTURES, lots of em!
This anime has really fluid and clean animation. The characters move cleanly around and interact with their world on such a personal level you get drawn in very easily. This just makes the fighting scenes much more intense because of the level of detail that's been drawn out in every picture. There's also alot of symbols and objects that have many meanings and connections to the characters making the picture that more meaningful. For example: whenever a character is giving advice or helping someone else they'll often throw something at them and they'll catch it. Pretty nifty bit I thought. Anyhow, the machines and the mechas (I call them bio-mechas) are really interesting and one of a kind looks. They really make the world very alien and yet believable in the context. (All flying machines are powered by stones that create a cool rainbow effect when ships take-off) Don't worry that didn't spoil any plot. The characters expressions are also spot on all the time like most animes, and there's so much interaction in these stunningly beautiful shots of landscapes and skylines that it's hard not to be a little passionate when you write a review on the art style.
Sorry, did you say SOUND?
I'll make this one short, since you can't describe sound with words as well.
Environment: Pretty good!
The Fwoosh Rainbox Sky-Ship Sounds: FWOOSH!... Tink!
Voices: Really, really good.
Disturbing/Strange: Unexpectedly familiar yet different
Timing: Spot on!
Who's a CHARACTER?
All the characters are really dynamic and many of them end up changing towards the end of the show, or coming to some sort of realization. That's what makes this anime really special in my book. All of the characters are pretty dynamic and interactive. The world feels really alive and ever-changing. Sure, there's always characters with flaws, and there's characters that are supporting, and there's ones you see more often. But when you see a character, you'll think of them specifically because they're really well defined. All of them have differences and individual personalities. I could say the only exception is the standard soldier-type person in this show, but that's believable in the context of things. Everyone also gets a bit of the spotlight as the plot goes on, so if you don't see much of a character in the beginning or when you first see them, expect them to show up in the future because the anime pretty even-handed when it comes to show time. (Of course Akiyuki overwhelmingly has the most show time, being the protagonist and all) For those who don't like the vulnerable parts of characters especially, this show isn't for you. One of the main themes is showing the weaknesses in people and how they overcome their flaws. If that isn't a powerful enough message for you I advise moving on to a different review.
I watched the show twice, I liked the show more the second time I saw it. I probably wouldn't see it a third time because I understand pretty much the whole story now.
-Akiyuki growing as an individual through the whole story
-Every single fight scene
-Every single fight scene 2nd viewing
-Climaxes of secondary character plots
-Climaxes of secondary character plots (Especially)
-Revealing of the truth of Xam'd towards the end the 2nd viewing, because I grasped most of the point behind events
Loved the story
Loved the animation a bit less, still loved it
I never focused on the sound because it was so flawless in my book, totally believable
The characters WERE the story, and I loved the story
OVERALL First view: 8.5
OVERALL Second view: 9.5
Watch this anime! Maybe not twice, but more people should definitely check it out. It's beautiful storytelling on a fast paced and intense level.
I must warn viewers that if you don't understand what's going on and get lost or confused, you will probably get frustrated with the choices that characters are making, even under their respective personalities. But, if you follow the plot you will really understand why a character does or doesn't do something, or what the heck just happened and where they are you'll love the show by the end, guaranteed. I found this out in my second viewing that I liked the choices characters made the second time through because I fully understood the show and where it was going.
"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.
In order to watch this show, just sit back and take in the visuals. Don't concern yourself with the plot or characters otherwise you'll have nothing to hold onto.
This is a tremendously creative series set in an intriguing world with beautiful animation. Unfortunately, nothing about the story or characters even comes close to matching the show's outward beauty.
This isn't a boring show; it constantly shows the viewer new locations, characters, confrontations. Locales include a pleasant island community, Himalayanesque mountains, and much more sumptuous scenery. Character designs are all equally creative from the military uniforms to the Zanbani's rag-tag crew to the various culture's depicted.
"Xam'd" also earns points from me for some of the most creative monster designs I seen. Every bit of eye candy propels the show briskly through its 26 episodes.
Beyond that, there is nothing. Those who have seen "Eureka 7" will instantly recognize some of the characters and possibly carry over some attachment from that show, but really, "Xam'd"'s characters are simply hollow pawns to the story.
A story that is no more intriguing than any of its characters. Honestly, I would be hard-pressed to even give a plot synopsis. There are many good ideas in "Xam'd," none of which are developed to fruition. There's a war; however, I couldn't tell you who was on what side or what the cause was. There are things called Xam'd or hiruko or something; I have no idea what they are after even after watching the show. There are a hundred examples of this.
This damn thing takes so many directions, incorporates so many details, and continually adds to the fracas that nothing is ever given its proper gestation time. It almost feels like an abridged version of a larger series.
I still recommend "Xam'd" to people who enjoy quality art and good animation; however, don't frustrate yourself with the finer details of the story -they aren't all that fine anyway.