X: the movie

Kamui

Rating: 3 Rampages

Synopsis:
X is set in the near future, in the same world as the Clamp Campus Detectives and Tokyo-Babylon. It is the beginning of the end of the world. Two dreamwalkers have forseen the coming of the Dragon of Earth and the Dragon of Heaven. The two spirtual forces must battle for the fate of the earth. If the Dragon of Heaven is victorious, the world remains the same. If the Dragon of Earth prevails, the world is shattered, and all is changed. For centuries, the two dragons have slept, each bound in another realm by the power of kekkai (spiritual seals). However, the seals are being destroyed. An ancient legend states that seven Seals and seven Minions will arise to do battle for the fate of the world. The Seven Seals will summon the Dragon of Heaven, and preserve the kekkai binding the Dragon of Earth. The Seven Minions will detroy the kekkai, freeing the Dragon of Earth, and destroying the world. The Seven Seals and the Seven Minions are scattered throughout Japan. Other powerful forces sense the coming change and rally their forces. The two dreamwalkers take opposite sides and begin gathering the Seals and the Minions for the final confrontation, when the twin dragons will awaken to mortal combat. There is one small problem though. One of the Seven Seals is also one of the Seven Minions. He has been blessed with powers un-dreamt of by either side. For this one man, the rules no longer apply. He has been given the choice between the preservation and destruction of the world. Whichever side recruits him first may win the war. His name is Kamui, and he doesn't care what happens either way...

Review:
Sorry folks, but after looking back on my previous review of this film, I had to admit that it really didn't have as much going for it as I had originally thought. Okay, the good parts: Great art. everything in X is drawn beautifully, from the backgrounds to the cherry blossoms floating by endlessly. Right from the opening scene where two dragons battle atop a skyscraper, we are treated to some of the most spectacular visuals ever animated. The fights are all very well paced, and none of the cheesy "black screen, white slash" we see so often in shows like Kenshin TV. The music is also a strong point; very nice orchestral music fits the scenes perfectly, adding a lot to the visual splendor. Unfortunately this does not hold true of the ending song "Forever love" by the now defunct X Japan. A very prominent J-Rock band, they still should never attempt rock ballads...certainly not one that is over 8 minutes long (energizer bunny moment, folks). Sure, the background music is nice but GODDESS can he not sing. This is easily avoided though as you can simply skip the credits and lose little.

Unfortunately, what I've listed above is really all there is to the movie; pretty art and fairly nice music. There is no real story to speak of; they try to half-assedly toss together the important parts of the manga into 90 minutes...and boy does it not work. Everything is so squashed together that it all just flies by making no sense whatsoever. All we get are a bunch of characters with no acceptable introductions and no background information who are tossed into some huge battle for Earth, then everybody dies and it's over. Whee. I could not bring myself to care about any of the characters, not even Kamui or Kotori. And why should I when the writers tell us NOTHING about who these people are, why they are doing what they're doing, and how/where this mess got started in the first place.

Considering the amazing depth of the manga, this film is a load of crap. It's pretty obvious why they made this movie in the first place; publicity. CLAMP hired a bunch of high-profile animators, plugged the movie and manga a ton, and basically told fans "Look! Isn't this pretty? Buy our manga and maybe we'll tell you the rest of the story!" Lucky for them that they've finally gotten off their asses and started up a TV series for X, which is the ONLY format this story should ever be told in. However, since the series won't start till next year, only time will tell whether they'll botch this new opportunity as badly as the last one. Frankly, the only reason X: the Movie gets even three Rampages is due to the wonderful art...were it not for that I wouldn't even give it a two. Bottom line - X is simply pretty eye-candy and nothing more. If you want a film to treat your mind as well as your eyes, go check out Perfect Blue or Mononoke Hime, and leave X on the shelf.

Availability:
Available fansubbed; has been released theatrically in North America by Manga Entertainment.