As the introduction to a 26-episode odyssey, Xam’d gives us a brief glimpse at each character, their relation with other characters, and whatever conflicts seem to appear. I say “seem to” in this case because there’s quite a bit of characters introduced but some are more developed than others. I’m primarily going to talk about the residents of Sentan Island and move on to the Zambani crew, Southern/Northern Government armies, and Jibushiri in the later episodes.
I will begin with the protagonist of the story. Akiyuki manages to escape all of the Mr. Insufferable Good Guy Harem Lead anime tropes except for waking up late, but he’s really nothing more than a 16-year-old high school kid. For now, at least. His parents are married, but he is currently living in an apartment with his mother, Fusa, while his father, Ryuzo, remains at the family clinic to pursue his career as a doctor. Obviously, his parents are not on good terms. Why? Well, we’ll figure that out later.
Despite this, Fusa still makes the biggest goddamn lunchbox imaginable for her dear husband and forces Akiyuki to take it to him on the way to the bus stop. Despite feeling compelled enough to separate herself and Akiyuki from the clinic, she still feels the need to make lunch for Ryuzo. This sort of defeats the purpose of moving away from him in the first place. Akiyuki is perhaps aware of this when he asks of his mother, “Is this separation really doing anything for your independence?”. To this extent, maybe the lunchbox represents Fusa’s desire to keep a connection with her husband and her son, Akiyuki, is a means of doing so. “Children are the bonds that hold a marriage together,” she claims. Personally, if she really wanted to keep her marriage together she would be delivering the lunchbox herself.
As for the father, it’s clear where Akiyuki gets his oversleeping habit and reluctance from. It’s also clear that the similarities end at the father’s cleanliness. Given, as a doctor he is supposed to be thoroughly clean during work, but I suppose his personal quarters does not constitute work. Did you know that he’s also an aspiring philosopher?
“A question without an answer is truth, yet people must continue to question themselves. Think about it.”
Exquisite. Anyway, that’s it when it comes to the Takehara family dynamic.
As for Haru and Furuichi, both are practitioners of some sort of martial art and spend the early hours of the morning as sparring partners. Though Haru seems to be the better of the two, Furuichi hides his shame by saying “There are no winners or losers in competition”. Their competitive streak does not end here, however.
Later on, the pair initiates another contest by betting on whether or not Akiyuki arrives late to the bus. However, the bet isn’t really about whether or not their friends arrives on time. Haru’s increasing irritation with Furuichi’s aloofness towards her bet seems to imply that she was hoping to get more of a reaction out of Furuichi than what she got. Is this significant in any way? I don’t know. However, as they continue waiting on the bus, Furuichi slowly becomes more confident in his bet, confident enough to declare that he’s won already. We’ll be seeing parallels to this later on, but this is merely a beginning.
Their competitive relationship pales in comparison to Akiyuki’s ego, however. His self-confidence is borderline pretentious. Quite different than how he behaves around his parents, and is an indicator that he feels differently about his friends in comparison to them. His self-confidence does, however, translate into kindness when he utilizes his “bad acting” (as dubbed by Furuichi) to get a refugee past the inspector and onto the bus. This proves to have more serious consequences than he imagined, for soon after the bus stops the refugee blows it up. So much for repaying kindness.
With a twist, of course. One of the tendrils of light embeds itself into Akiyuki’s arm. And so it begins.
The transformation sequence for the Xam’d is rather intrusive, perhaps violent. Obviously, it is against his will. One of the interesting things I observed is that, while it first requires that he wears a mask, it suffocates him. As if to reject whatever the thing is trying to do to Akiyuki’s body.
Now answer me this: which part would you say is Akiyuki? His entire being? The inside only? Could there be some sort of line that determines what percentage of him is still left? Maybe we’ll find out more with the next episode.
Now, to end with some classy screenshots.