Takehara Akiyuki is a high school student living with his mother on the island of Sentan. His parents are separated, but his mother still cooks lunches and makes Akiyuki bring them to his doctor father. On this particular morning, he delivers one to his still-sleeping father and wakes up the man in the process. It makes him late to get to the bus that’ll take him to school, but he manages to arrive before it leaves. When he notices that the pale-skinned, white-haired girl in front of him in line doesn’t possess an armband like the other students – required for boarding the bus – he decides to help her out by using himself as a distraction and by dropping his own armband in front of the girl. Akiyuki is able to talk his way onto the bus without one, and the girl is able to board as well because she now has Akiyuki’s armband. The bus ride is punctuated by radio reports of the ongoing war outside the island, and the students are unaware of the Northern Government forces coming.
Upon their arrival at school, Akiyuki gets off the bus and notices that the pale-skinned girl is still sitting. Moments after that though, the bus explodes thanks to the girl stabbing her bad with a special object. Akiyuki and his friends are thrown to the ground by the force of the blast, and since he’s relatively unhurt, Akiyuki gets back up afterwards and sees a glowing orb floating above the carcass of the bus. This orb shoots out many beams of energy in multiple directions, and one of these pierces Akiyuki’s arm, injecting something into him that causes him great pain. For the time being though, he is more concerned about his friend Haru who was standing much closer to the blast than he was. Though in shock, Haru turns out to be okay, and Akiyuki then notices that the pale-skinned girl from before is stumbling around hurt inside the bus. He rushes to help her, and to his surprise, the girl apologizes for getting him involved.
As Akiyuki realizes that she was the culprit, the girl introduces herself as Nazuna and comments on how he’ll be okay with the Xam’d of lost memories. She touches his forehead before she dies, and this creates a mask on his face that soon leads his entire body to transform into a large white creature. The guard who subsequently arrives on the scene treats Akiyuki as an enemy and shoots him, and although the impact of the bullets throws his new body onto the ground, Akiyuki proclaims that he wants to live. Meanwhile, high above the town, some aircraft drop a large round object onto the island.
ED: 「Vacency」 by Kylee
Watch the ED!: Mirror 1, Mirror 2, Streaming
It is perhaps a sign of the marketing and target audience of this series that both the OP and the ED are in English. Heck, Kylee’s song I could even mistake for something I’d hear on a top40 radio station in the States. BOOM BOOM SATELLITES performs a pretty catchy OP too, and I generally just like both the songs (more the opening though).
Well I’d be lying if I said this one didn’t catch me by surprise. As part of their E3 announcements, BONES and Sony have teamed up to offer BONES’s brand new – not even aired in Japan – series Bounen no Xamdou (Xam’d Lost Memories) on the Playstation Network. The details are in the press release, but basically you can rent (emphasis on rent) the first episode for $2.99 or $3.99 depending if you want lower or higher quality.
As for the episode itself, I was very impressed, but since this is a BONES show, the fact that it’s good isn’t too surprising. The art style makes the series feel like a cross of Nausicaa and Eureka Seven, and I pretty much had no complaints about the production quality. I did find the plot a little confusing at first (the stuff the war and everything that happened with Nakiami), and this was relatively slow-paced for most of the episode, however I should also say that I never felt bored or lost interest. It always felt like there was something big coming and that this was the calm before the storm. And indeed, the most exciting moments were towards the end with the explosion and the transformation for the main character, and they did a good job ending on a cliffhanger.
Overall, this first episode drew me in enough and made me want to see more – that’s perhaps some of the best praise I can give a first episode of something completely new. I’m keen on seeing more and am definitely considering blogging this, though I’m at current unsure what the actual release schedule is for the series, so I can’t commit to anything yet.