I have been watching RahXephon today and it's the most surrealist, intresting, beautiful thing I've seen in a long time.
I am fascinated by the theme of clocks and time that is flowing throughout the story: the credits themselves have clocks and hourglasses and, in one very Daliesque sequence, Haruka in the credits in the field of melting clocks. I am also interested by the interplay between Mishima Reika, who is part muse, part conductor, part dream for Ayato (I know she is at least somewhat real because others see her too, otherwise I'd think she is Ayato's projection) and Haruka, who Ayato has feelings for. Not only are they intercut in the credits, but the creators keep drawing parallels between them: they both help Ayato determine the truth, and they both are the closest emotional connections Ayato has and even in the last frame of the credits they are intercut. Mishima conducts but it's Haruka's song that brings Ayato's back from the vortex. Though truth and reality is fluid. In my favorite episode so far, the one where Ayato 'goes back' to Tokyo (it reminds me strongly of Farscape's 'Won't get fooled agin' with its discordant nightmare and twisting of emotional attachments), when Reika appears as his savior, when he asks her to help him to come to the real, outside world, she tells him she doesn't know if it's real. And in the brilliant answer, Ayato tells her he doesn't care if it's real, because unlike Tokyo of the dream/reality, the outside would seems real to him. Of course, it appears Ayato himself can warp reality and I find this show's playing the notions with reality, emotional memory and self really fascinating. And of course, in the most interesting Haruka/Reika interplay so far, in that episode where 'reality' starts to break down and Reika appears on TV instead of the program, blinking in and out, the very last image, gone rather quickly, is not Reika but Haruka.
I also love Ayato, the protagonist. He is actually pretty unusual as far as protagonists for shows go: he is a quiet, self-contained, honest and very very decent person. He is rather reserved and his hurts and uncertainties (and he has plenty. He is as much of an outsider as it is possible to be) are controlled by a steadiness. Also, even though he hates fighting, he does what he percieves is his duty uncomplainingly and rather steadfastly. He is the opposite of flamoboyant or moody but he isn't boring in the least. And of course, I love the notion of his being a painter, because it also loops back into the theme of creation: he creats 'reality' in his paintings, painted people, painted worlds. Which is similar to his altering constraints of reality through fighting in RahXephon.
I am also pleasantly shocked by the clear fact of Ayato (17) and Haruka (29) having feelings for each other. Not that they are going to jump into bed but I have to say, as a mid-20s woman myself, Haruka's feelings do make sense beause Ayato is very mature. Also, of course, there seem to be strong indications that Haruka loved Ayato at some point in the past and because he ended up being in Tokyo, due to the time-dilation she aged faster than he did. That would explain the extremity of her reaction to him (her despair when he is supposed lost, the almost shy manner she has around him). There is the fact that the Doctor (who I loathe as he is annoying, cold and nasty. He has no care for his 'experiments' as people), who is Haruka's ex, tells her that her time stoppes in 2012 and that he knew he was always a substitute and that 'he' hasn't changed (when they can see Ayato in the room). There is the fact that Haruka's sister mentions that Haruka used to be madly in love with someone and she still has some present she's kept for years to give to that guy and then she sees Haruka give that present to Ayato. But why does Ayato not remember if that is the case (don't spoil me)? He does say that he's been told his memories aren't real, so maybe his memories of Haruka have been erased. I do love the little ways that indicate he likes her. She likes to add sugar to her dishes, so (because her sister is mocking her) he adds it to his and says it tastes good (and latr, after he sees obnoxious doctor kiss her, when she does something else idiosyncratic with the food, he does not follow suit and the sister is surprised).
But yes, I have a lot of questions and it's delightful to try to puzzle them together. I love this.
Also, I finished Pretear which joins 'bad and amusing' category and will do one last post on it later.