Sentai Filmworks is re-releasing “Xam’d: Lost Memories,” including Blu-ray this week. The actioner originally came out a couple years ago.
And since I’m taking on some extra duties at work this month and posting will probably be a little light, I thought I’d dip into the old, now publicly unavailable archives and dig out my original review, which covered the first six of 26 episodes. So here’s a blast from the Geek Watch past:
The devil’s in the details, and this series is full of them. The story starts off at a leisurely pace, building the world of Sentan Island. This world is kinda like ours, but different. There’s a war going on between the Northern and Southern continents, and Sentan is supposed to be peaceful, neutral territory somewhere in between. But someone (maybe the North, maybe not) wants to drag the island into the conflict and escalate fighting. And someone else wants to mitigate the damage. But this being anime, none of that can be done in a straightforward manner. Just as “humanform weapons” (monsters controlled by freaky humans) are dropped on the island to wreak havoc, another act of terrorism is meant to turn a teen boy, Akiyuki, into a hero of sorts called a Xam’d.
Throw in a weird religious sect, cool airships and a thing for seeds and rust, and you get a series that’s a lot more compelling than expected.
About those details: The backgrounds are quite lovely. The skies in the first episode, in particular, are quite stunning, but there’s a lot more background detail than you find in many shows: details, graphics, textures, etc. It all contributes to establishing this world as familiar but slightly exotic.
The size of the cast can seem a bit overwhelming at times, but overall the series balances them well as it goes back and forth between Akiyuki’s travels with the postal airship that saved him from himself after his first transformation and his friends and family left behind on Sentan Island. There’s lots of intrigue going on.