Xam’d: Lost Memories (Bōnen no Zamudo) 2008
This series from Bones & Sony seems to have had a pretty big budget – possibly in part because it was launched as part of the Playstation Network’s video downloading arm, and so no doubt everyone involved wanted it to succeed – and while it’s visually impressive and a really, really distinctive show with compelling characters, it doesn’t feel like it’ll ever become a ‘classic.’
Doesn’t mean Xam’d is bad either, but some of the elements have never really come together for me. Mainly, I feel like the main antagonist/destructive force was not foreshadowed (or even introduced) early enough and afterwards, I was left with little knowledge or kinda even little interest in the creature. The human villains were more interesting, as were there heroes – but a touch more on that below.
The other aspect that felt underdeveloped was the grounding of the exciting events that take place in the story; there’s war and religious conflict chugging along in the background but with little to contextualise it in place or the history of the world, even (for the most part) when the main cast brushes up again/is pulled into those struggles.
Aside from that I enjoyed the variety of the cast, the setting and the magic – along with the oft-times disturbing ‘humanforms,’ creatures which all benefit from imaginative and bold designs. Probably above and beyond that, there were a lot of intersecting character storylines that kept me going – main character Akiyuki’s personal struggle with being thrust into a role he didn’t seek of course, but the story between his parents or the shifting loyalties amongst his friends, and the mysterious past of Ishuu and her ship’s crew (she’s a somewhat acerbic character whose role hovers between ‘postal delivery captain’ and ‘smuggler’).
Worth watching if you’re happy to let yourself be swept up in the visuals and the characters I reckon, but not a series where you’ll be stunned by big reveals or a thrilling plot, because despite the complexities of the storylines, there’s just something missing for me.