It is hard to say how many simultaneous fanboy moments I had here, or if the word “fanboy” is inappropriate for the pure, visceral satisfaction provided here. And the series isn’t even done yet!
As Xam’d winds its way towards the sadly imminent conclusion (I, for one, will be experiencing severe Haru withdrawal, and, I suspect, many others will be sharing in my predicament), events start to coalesce: Akiyuki and Haru have their triumphant reunion (more than a little evocative of similar moments in Eureka Seven, no doubt intentional), Nakiami deals with her sinisterly megalomaniac sister, and all the minor characters wend towards whatever fate is in store for them. It’s thrillingly satisfying in many ways, as the careful, slow development of the characters begins to reach its apex.
The pacing of Xam’d is perhaps one of its strongest assets: the deliberate pacing and careful attention to detail belie the careful planning that went into the series. The concept of Xam’d as being a series held in the hands of the staff, who doles out a card seemingly at random that raises more questions than it answers, is still very much true, with a catch: the cards don’t seem to be so random anymore. Perhaps it’s just the gradual coalescence of the world over time, but cards are never played until (or, sometimes, after) they are needed to understand, and it’s not always accompanied by a dramatic gesture akin to Sakura crossed with Hikaru. You aren’t spoonfed details, you must seek them out on your own.
It’s almost sadly poetic the circumstances that led to The Scene in episode 19–as Haru came into terms with herself, Akiyuki lost his sense of self. Haru came to understand herself through Tojiro’s nasty methods of trying to make her a prime fighting machine, while Akiyuki found himself sheltered and protected by a mysteriously ill yet kind and genial woman named Sumako. And it’s interesting, too, that Sumako is Tojiro’s mother, and doubly so that Akiyuki, in his lost sense of self, reminds Sumako of Tojiro. Sumako earnestly tries to help, or at least support, Akiyuki through his crisis, while Haru finds herself restricted by her son. Both Akiyuki and Haru are able to find and grasp their own understanding of self (Akiyuki, in particular, seems to have grasped much more than that, but full synchronization with the Xam’d) through the assistance of mother and son, but in opposite ways. They both leave an thank-you note for Tojiro and Sumako, respectively, but while Haru’s note for Tojiro is intended to be sarcastic and nearly mocking, and summarily angrily kicked aside in a furious rejection by Tojiro upon discovering it, Akiyuki leaves behind a sincere, earnest, and heartfelt thank you that will no doubt be received with love and warmth. Tojiro rejects what he cannot acheive
There’s a lot that could be said about this particular snippet of Xam’d that my brain is having a difficult time processing it and trying to turn it into some kind of legible, if messy, prose. What does it mean, for instance, that Tojiro restricts Haru from Akiyuki, when his own mother thinks Akiyuki resembles him? For that matter, if Akiyuki resembles Tojiro, which one of them is true and which is false? Is Tojiro’s bitter and cold disregard for Haru’s fixation on Akiyuki a sort of post facto jealousy? And let’s not forget that Tojiro was supposed to have died in the war, but that Akiyuki’s own father helped save his life. It’s a massive web of complexity that doesn’t even seem to have a center or even a focus, just tangled strands that intersect at odd points.
Such is life, I suppose. And yet we cannot seem to live without having connections to other people, for even when those connections cause us pain, they seem to be essential to survival.
(No, I have not forgotten about Nakiami, and, in fact, I keep feeling bad for not discussing her, for what’s going on with her now is just as interesting, but I think the fact that I sync up on some kind of deep level with Haru and Akiyuki keeps overshadowing poor Nakiami. Then again, I watched most of Eureka Seven more interested in Renton and Eureka, and then 48 hit, and Dominic and Anemone’s reunion was, and remains, the most memorable moment of Eureka Seven to me, so, perhaps, there is still hope. Maybe. Or maybe that will be a rewatch job…)