Archive for September 13th, 2008

Xam’d: Lost Memories: Human and Humanform

Another week, another impressive episode of Xam’d, another justification for my torrid love affair with Haru. As if I really needed justification, but justification means I can explain it to people. Maybe, anyway.

Xam’d keeps shoving themes in my face; if I were really clever and not so eager to press the “publish” button so often, I mght think of them in the same post, but that might lead to really long and unwiedly posts, so either I have to wait until it pops in my head or the series makes it painfully clear for me. The theme that popped in my head this episode (which was probably stronger in previous episodes, but my mind works in weird ways) is that Xam’d, as a series, doesn’t seem to draw a line between what is “human” and what is “weapon”.

Here we have a world, a world that has developed some kind of biotechnology weapon that enables a human being to transform (through some arcane scientomagic, apparently) into a really big killing machine, while simultaneously allowing their human form to exist within the Humanform Weapon, as the bioengineered beasts are termed. It’s not clear how this process works–from watching Nakiami do her work, the human exists in a kind of soupy glowy mess inside the Humanform Weapon*, enabling her to extract them from the weapon itself before destroying the weapon, thereby saving the human “pilot” but destroying the weapon. Even when it comes to the more decidedly mechanical weapons that Haru and Furuichi** pilot, the line betwen man and machine is still blurred–they seem to use some kind of spinal/cranial uplink to allow them greater control over their units. While less drastic than actually becoming a weapon themselves, as the Humanform Weapons do, it definitely blurs the line between weapon and wielder.

The fact that there isn’t a clear line between the two is fairly simple for the cannon fodder units that pop up and are destroyed, but it becomes more critical where Akiyuki is concerned. Akiyuki is, of course, a Xam’d, and, while he may not quite know what he’s doing, it’s clear to Furuichi, at least, that, since he is a Xam’d, he is an enemy, and also that Akiyuki is no longer Akiyuki, but some other being, and possibly Akiyuki as he knew him is dead. It’s the dead opposite attitude to Haru’s outlook that, beneath the Xam’d exterior, Akiyuki is still the same Akiyuki that she’s known all her life, and she still needs to give him that armband back.

This all becomes poignantly clear when Toujirou calls Haru in simply to clarify what has happened to Akiyuki, referring to him as a “casualty” and other sinister hints that reveal that he no longer consideres Akiyuki (who is, very much, a human being at this point) to be human or even alive–instead, he is now another one of those menaces known as Xam’d that must be hunted down and destroyed, possibly without mercy. It’s rote business for Toujirou, who is more interested in his clipboard than Haru, and Haru, for all her conviction to the contrary, that Akiyuki is indeed a human being, can’t even begin to frame why she believes this.

Is Akiyuki still human? Is he now some kind of crazy possessed-by-Xam’d person who has the appearance and manner of his old self, but is fully Xam’d in thought? I’ll just whip out Occam’s Razor and state that, more likely, Akiyuki is still Akiyuki and Xam’d is still Xam’d, they’re just now both in the same person.*** And, although the Xam’d may be, in the end, just a weapon, in the end, it’s still going to be up to Akiyuki to decide how to use it. What’s that phrase I commonly hear? “Love the sinner, hate the sin”? In Xam’d terms, this would be “Love the human, hate the weapon”.

BUT WAIT!

I don’t think we can hate the weapon, either. Fun.

(Is there some credit due to coburn here, after his comment on the last Xam’d post? I’m not sure, but here’s credit anyway!)

*I mustn’t say LCL, I mustn’t say LCL, I mustn’t…
**I HATE FURUICHI. HATE. HATE. HATE.
*** Funny, this reminds me of this other series I’m watching right now

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NOTICE SHAMELESSLY STOLEN FROM G.K. CHESTERTON

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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