Greetings! Welcome to our next review, which is the original anime series titled Bounen no Xamdou, or Xam’d: Lost Memories in the English dub. B-Ro will not be joining us for this review due to issues with streaming services. There may also be minor spoilers ahead, so you have been warned.
Now without further ado, let us begin the review!
Summary: Sentan Island is a small island surrounded by the Yuden Sea. It exists in a state of dreamlike tranquility, cut off from the war between the Northern Government and the Southern Continent Free Zone. Our hero, Akiyuki Takehara, lives on Sentain Island along with his mother Fusa. He is currently separated from his father, the town doctor Ryuzo, but the bond between father and son remains. One day, after taking Ryuzo the lunch that Fusa has made for him as usual, Akiyuki arrives at school, where he is caught up in an explosion along with his friends, Haru and Furuichi. The explosion produces a mysterious light, which enters Akiyuki’s arm, causing him excruciating pain. He’s given no time to understand it, however, as the white-haired girl who rode on the bus with him guides him to a power unlike anything he’s ever known. -MyAnimeList
Xam’d: Lost Memories has quite the extensive plot that requires almost every minute of each of its 26 episodes. The actual plot plays out much like the classic epic. It does not just focus on Akiyuki, but also focuses on the people he ends up leaving behind because of the plot starting incident, adding another layer of depth to the plot. Many of the conclusions of the subplots make one ask questions about whether victory was won or not, making the anime that much more interesting. One of its best aspects is that it completely avoid any sort of exposition dump that is so common in modern anime as a quick way of world building. Xam’d: Lost Memories forces the viewer to directly engage with the story to learn all the nuisances of the world. However, some viewers could find this frustrating as it prevents this from being a relaxing or casual watch. There are a few moments that are blatant plot armor or plot conveniences, which are slightly more noticeable due to the heavy viewer involvement. Regardless, the plot for Xam’d: Lost Memories is very heavy, but also expertly crafted. There are a wide range of scene types in this anime such as comedic, slice of life, mecha, and action, but they all bland together nicely and keep the anime from feeling repetitive. I could honestly give this anime a 10 on plot (something I have never done to date).
This anime has a quite a considerable cast, but makes good use of developing them. While Akiyuki is clearly the protagonist, many of the characters get the same protagonist treatment of being well developed alongside considerable growth and personal struggles. Almost none of the characters feel or act one dimensional, and because of this, the viewer will often be forced to question who is friend or foe. While none of the characters come across as disposable, a few do seem to exist just to push a subplot along. They have little actual presence outside of these moments, which makes their inclusion questionable.
If you have ever watched and noticed how the animation between movie anime and regular anime differ, you will understand how Xam’d: Lost Memories’s animation is different from the common place style of modern times. It is very clean and fluid, adding to the action sequences expertly. The anime makes good use of color contrast between what is natural and what is supernatural. Some viewers may find the animation a bit off putting since it is different from the regular style, though.
Hands down one the best aspects of this show is its soundtrack. The soundtrack seems more appropriate for a movie than a regular episodic anime. The score and orchestration really fit to each scene to draw out the full range of impact. While the opening and ending are not the best musically, they still fit well with the series and do not really take away from the experience.
Just like the plot, Xam’d: Lost Memories is ridiculously thick with themes. The main issue with identifying these themes is they are either heavily integrated into the plot, requiring one to hunt for them, or are strictly directed toward the Japanese audience. An example theme for the Japanese audience would be a focus on a collectivism mentality, where one seeks to benefit the group or family rather than the individual. The opposite of this obviously the very Western individualism. One of the clearer themes is relationships, which are heavily the focus of most subplots. There are multiple relationships displayed, ranging from friendship to romance to struggling marriages. All play a greater point in the story, and are key to character development. Another heavily prevalent theme is the corruption of conflict, about how it can destroy people and cause them to act against rules or even their own ethics. This includes both war and internal struggles, such as jealousy or self loathing.
Final Score: 9.0/10
Final Grade: A
Xam’d, Lost Memories. As soon as I saw the airships at the beginning, I knew this one would be right up my alley. This is a show with a lot of ambition, and I loved it. A fantastic fantasy whose interesting ideas and world building remind me of works by Studio Ghibli, but over 26 episodes of content instead of 2 hours. First off, despite it taking me a bit to get behind the main cast, the characters ended up being great in my eyes. To bring up Ghibli again, I read that Nakiami may have been inspired by Nausicaa from the Miyazaki classic. I can definitely see the resemblance, and I did love her character. The character designs and overall animation is astounding. I could definitely feel the sheer creativity behind this world they made, and made me want to see more of/know more about it. There’s also plenty of action to keep one entertained, which was certainly welcome as well. As for the music, it is outstanding! It’s so well orchestrated and cinematic. It’s certainly a soundtrack I will probably be buying. As I said before, this show is 26 episodes, and they needed that runtime (though maybe even 26 was too short). The plot is quite expansive, and while I definitely liked the general progression and where it went, I do feel that I missed a few details for this first viewing (the way I had to binge this series for the review may have had something to do with it too). This is definitely a show I will need to rewatch, and thankfully the animation, presentation, characters, music, and overall world gives me plenty of incentive to do such. In conclusion, this is an amazing show with movie-like presentation, just be wary that the plot is detailed and may be best to digest slowly.
Final Comments: Bounen no Xamdou is comparable to a cinematic experience, with excellently put together and interesting characters, plot, and soundtrack. However, the difference typical anime and heavy engagement required from the viewer can make this anime a challenging watch.
Thank you for reading this review! What did you think of X’amd: Lost Memories? Did you like anime? What part of our review did you disagree or agree with? We will be back in our next review with a look at the recently finished Attack on Titan Season 2. Hope you are as excited as we are to review it!