Preview – Xam’d: Lost Memories

You sit proudly in this cave, like a queen of Egypt
In my service to you, I shall never know rest
To prove my devotion, I have stolen this ostentatious offering

But I will show you things
that your dark blue eyes have never seen before
Smiles like a lake in the sun, blossoming like a water lotus

You sit upon your great throne inscribed with a lion’s head,
skin bathed in ebony light
At times, I will hold up a lamp, and take my place at your feet

This pendant releases the light of Sirius,
which your eyes will never behold

One who does not live for my sake,
a child of this country,
will bear this fire within
and herself, freeze.

– Opening lines of Xam’d: Lost Memories

These lines set the tone for the entire series: mystical, cryptic, and goddamn confusing as hell when read straight. But do you feel, in your heart, that it should make sense? That, somehow, if you continue watching, that you will figure out what these words mean?

This will be my first series of posts: an episodic account of Xam’d: Lost Memories. To be honest, the last time I’ve seen this series was sometime back in 2009 when I had the luxury of marathoning through the entire series rather than follow it through its scheduled release times on PSN, and I do not remember well as to what became important in each episode. However, I do know a couple of things, and it has to do with the themes I will be touching upon in each episodic post.

The world of Xam’d: Lost Memories and its inhabitants, but most especially the creatures called Xam’d, are quite forcefully seized by a strong sense of fate, which additionally ties with what’s called the hero’s journey. More on this in future posts, but do note that the Xam’d are a crucial part to the story and will be addressed upon each time it is applicable.

This anime does not entirely revolve around the Xam’d, however, despite its namesake. The feelings that are prevalent in non-Xam’d characters are also given the spotlight, as those who are left behind, those who are not given the call to action. When you consider that this story is told with war as the backdrop it is not surprising to feel that, amidst the chaos and destruction of peace, something is changing. There is no telling what’s going to happen to family structure, or perhaps friendships, due to the strained circumstances. Despite this, Xam’d is one of few anime to address motherhood so strongly amidst all this angst and pain. It would not be wrong for loneliness to slowly advance into the anguished heart and turn it to stone, nor would it be implausible for characters to question their purpose in life, or their true calling, so to speak. When placed in the middle of a raging battle of bullets, monsters, and ideals, there is only once choice for each character to make, and that decision would affect their life forever. Problem is, what choices do they have? And, finding that out, which choice should it be?

Listed from left to right: Nishimura Haru, Takehara Akiyuki, Teraoka Furuichi, Nakiami, and two examples of the beings known as Xam’d.

Each character is affected by this phenomenon, and one by one they find the resolve to confront their troubles and settle things once and for all. The amount of success they will achieve in their efforts is negligible, for the overarching principle of each character’s struggle is that, by enacting their own selfish wills, they have instead as a group shifted the course of the world, and thus have shaped the future. The joy of seeing each and every character move as one to make this happen is something I remember fondly.

I know there wasn’t universal approval of this anime. My friends in real life certainly don’t think it’s perfect. To them, it was like A New Hope had become The Phantom Menace, as if the finished product did not turn out like the expectations my friends built for the show during the first half. My intent in doing this series is not to prove them wrong but instead look at why this may or may not be so. It is also an opportunity to remember why, despite such complaints, I personally remember the second half more than the first one. This is as much an analysis of a series sometime ago as well as an assessment of my own feelings about this anime, both of which will come to light as this series goes on. For the most part, however, my analysis of Xam’d: Lost Memories will begin and remain neutral towards the quality and instead delve into anything I find interesting or worthy of discussion.

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