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October 6th, 2007

RahXephon, vol 1, by Hiroshi Ohnogi
ISBN: 1-59796-000-4
Price: 7.95

Review May Contain Spoilers

Kamina Ayato is a little weirded out when everyone goes overboard to wish him a happy seventeenth birthday. Even his mother, a chronic workaholic, comes home early to make him a cake. Raised as a human, Kamina has no idea his mother's been possessed by one of the Mu, an alien race, and has been grooming him for some secret nefarious project. It turns out that seventeen is the age at which Kamina becomes ready to pilot RahXephon, a giant organic robot that can defeat the other giant robots that attacked Earth when the Mulians invaded and took over Tokyo, shutting out the rest of the world. When TERRA agent Shitow Haruka manages to break both Kamina and RahXephon out of Tokyo, Kamina's life changes forever as his beliefs in what is real and unreal are shattered.

RahXephon is a novelization of the anime by the same name. I admit I've only seen the first episode of the anime, so I have no idea how faithful the book is to the show, although the author does note in the afterward that he has added some bits. Whatever he added, the result is an action-filled plot that keeps an uninitiated reader guessing as to what will come next. Unfortunately, the number of typos and grammatical errors also keep the reader guessing. The errors are so bad at times that the reader has to go back and mentally fix sentences, either adding or rearranging words, before they make sense. Having each chapter be narrated in first-person by a different character adds to the confusion, as the character speaking isn't necessarily identified at the beginning of each chapter. 

Even with an exciting plot, the book was painful to read. As each new typo pulled me out of the story, it became harder and harder to fall back in, and I found I was starting to look forward to finding the next error more than finding out what was happening to Kamina. At the end, I'd become completely disengaged from the story. I won't be reading volume two.