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X Vol. 3

Author: Andy Hanley

Andy hasn't written a profile yet. That's ruddy mysterious...

X Vol. 3

30 Dec 2009

As X reaches its half-way point via this third DVD volume, so we finally see this intriguing series begin to set its sights upon the main thrust of its storyline, bringing to a head all the talk of destiny, choice and impending apocalypse which has remained present throughout the show thus far.

Before we really get down to business however, much of the first three episodes on this particular volume continue along the same lines as volume two in terms of seeking to flesh out some of the characters we've already been introduced to, while also bringing in a couple of newcomers as the search for the remaining Seven Seals continues to bring together all of the players in this most serious "game".

Thus, episode nine follows the hunt for Subaru Sumeragi, a powerful young clan leader who has little interest in becoming a Dragon of Heaven and saving the world on account of his far more personal hunt for vengeance against his sister's killer.  This is followed by an episode which sees Nekoi Yuzuriha meet another of the Seven Seals herself, albeit not before indulging itself in a lengthy flashback to Nekoi's childhood and another chance meeting with Kusanagi Shiya, the stranger who could see her dog Inuki in the last volume.

Flashbacks to the past of a major character is also the order of the day in the series eleventh episode, as we look back upon Kamui's childhood as he moves away to a strange school and struggles to deal with the powers with which he has been equipped as well as the concept of destiny which his mother attempts to bestow on him.  The conclusion of this little character-building project finally allows the series to set its sights firmly on the present, with the appearance of a second Divine Sword proving the catalyst for plenty of major plot progression, as Kamui finally has to face facts and choose whether to become a Dragon of Heaven or Earth - A decision which has immediate and wide-reaching implications in its own right, setting us up for the second half of the series in suitably dramatic fashion.

While it's taken a decidedly long time to reach this major turning point in the series on account of X's frequently sluggish pace, somehow the episodes on display in this third volume manage to get away with becoming occasionally glacial on account of their often visually sumptuous treatment.  This regularly makes even some of the arguably needless flashbacks worth watching simply on account of their beauty, helped along by an excellent DVD transfer and starting at CLAMP's wonderful yet instantly recognisable character designs before continuing into the tiny details that makes this show stand out from the pack.  Even when the aesthetics aren't quite enough to carry your interest, the overall concept of the series continues to promise enough to make any perceived slog through these early episodes seem worthwhile, and come the final episode on this DVD things get extremely interesting indeed.

However, having reached this pivotal point there's no doubt that X needs to kick things up a gear or two for the second half of the series to move from being a series and concept with "potential" and "promise" into an offering that actually delivers on those possibilities.  Thus, it could well be volume four that makes or breaks whether X can become more than simply the sum of its (admittedly often very impressive) parts.


English 5.1 and Japanese 2.0 audio, English subtitles, trailers.

X continues to take it slowly in terms of pacing, but come the end of this volume there is definite promise of even better times ahead.
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