Xam’d: Lost Memories: I Still Don’t Know What’s Going On Here

But I’m pretty sure that’s the point of it all, and I care less as time goes on.

Considering how precious little we actually know about the world Xam’d takes place in, and the fact that we’ve essentially been dropped into the middle of a story, in the thick of the action, without any real exposition given to us to explain what, exactly, is going on, the series is still somehow utterly compelling and addictive to watch. I’m mostly going to chalk it up to the writers, who are, essentially, sitting behind the TV screen with a full deck of cards, in sequential order, explaining what’s going on in Xam’d in elaborate detail, and are presenting the viewer with a card, seemingly drawn randomly from their deck, at erratic intervals.

The way they’re handling it actually seems to contribute to the enjoyment of the series. I was slightly skeptical of the series upon seeing the very first, very short trailer released for the series, which was essentially a montage of random chaos set to really cool chaotic music. The more I watch, though, the more impressed I am. Chaos seems to be the order of the day, as expressed in the preview trailer and also in the fantastic OP, “SHUT UP AND EXPLODE” by the BOOM BOOM SATELLITES. When I checked the ANN page before watching the first episode I saw the name of the OP song and said “Oh, man, if that song is half as awesome as the band name and title make it out to be…” And, well, it was. It almost perfectly captures (along with the OP animation itself) the essence of the series, both musically and through its title. It’s a fairly chaotic song–but, like Xam’d itself, it’s not chaos without order.

The appeal comes from the fact that Xam’d, to me, seems like organized chaos. Everything feels like you don’t really know what’s going on–you’re given just enough to be able to appreciate, but there’s that ever-present “I need to know more” urge prompted by the writers’ haphazard card-tossing. Other series create the “I need to know more” feeling, of course–Urasawa Naoki creates entire series based around his readers dying to know more–but few seem to be able to do it in quite the way Xam’d is. I’ve seen six episodes, and the more I watch, it seems, the less I actually understand–yet, also, the less I understand, the less I actually seem to care that I don’t understand. Xam’d is on a 26 episode rip-rolling jet ride and you’re strapped to the back of the jet via a rope, and the jet is going at Mach 3.

The feeling of watching Xam’d (or, at least, my feeling watching Xam’d) might be hard to put in words, but there is one thing I can say: I can’t stop watching. I want to keep watching. If you ask me, this should have been BONES’ 10th anniversary series, and not Soul Eater. Nothing wrong with Soul Eater, mind–I still like it—but Xam’d feels much more like an anniversary show with all the stops pulled out.

And, of course, topping off the appeal of all the organized chaos is the very simple and easy-to-understand appeal of  Haru Nishimura:

She is going to kick some rogue Humanform Weapon posterior next week. I will be in bliss.

5 Responses to “Xam’d: Lost Memories: I Still Don’t Know What’s Going On Here”

  1. 1 issa-sa 22 August 2008 at 1:15 am

    Ironically, I’ve been slacking off with this series for nearly the same reasons that you seem to be compelled to watch more – the more I watch the less I understand, the less I understand, the less I care that I don’t understand (because that’s what the creators’ intentions are?)… and the less I care that I don’t understand, the less I suddenly care about the overall show.

    But that’s just me and 3 episodes. I’ll catch up soon enough (or at least I’ll try to, unless the rest of my lazy summer watchlist traps me in my current lazy trance) and hopefully the appeal of the show will once again be smacked right into my face once again.

  2. 2 OGT 22 August 2008 at 1:41 am

    No one says you have to watch everything or even like it, least of all me, but I am at least partially insane, and you’ll see why when I make my list of shows I plan to watch this fall. I hope I can get it in tomorrow amidst all the other writing I have to do…
    On Xam’d, well, Utena followed a roughly similar patten (if different in execution) and that’s a highly beloved series these days…but some people just can’t get past how utterly bizarre it is. Bizarreness and “what the hell’s going on here” works for some, not for others. You could at least watch for liberal Haru posterior-kicking for goodness!

  3. 3 issa-sa 22 August 2008 at 7:24 am

    I loved Utena’s ‘bizzareness’! Well mostly the shadow puppets. But when I still don’t remember who ‘Haru’ is, I’m not too sure Xam’d is the kind of show for me. But that’s just my current pessimistic thoughts, load me with sugar and I’ll be sure to watch and praise the show to hell… later :P

  4. 4 omo 22 August 2008 at 7:29 am

    I’m watching Xamd because it’s so well made for a TV series…

    The lack of exposition isn’t doing anything for me unfortunately.

  5. 5 coburn 22 August 2008 at 7:04 pm

    I like the way that this series never feels like the new information is contrived. Stuff coming to light near-randomly and not very often feels natural for me, making it a superior fantasy universe.

    The high-budget cool factor in Xam’d keeps my attention all by itself. So it doesn’t have to play at organised tension, description, and solid structuring in the early stages of the plot. It can just act naturally (chaotically) while I remain glued to the screen by the prettiness. If this were lower budget I’d be complaining a great deal about pacing and lack of focus.

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I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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August 2008

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