Serial Experiments Lain, which Yoshitoshi Abe has also been involved in, shares a very similar story structure to Texhnolyze. Both start with a relatively unfulfilling storyline that explains nothing and expects the audience to infer much of what is going on. In the final half, the anime will leap off of the foundation that it has so painstakingly created and go in a totally unexpected direction, resulting in an ultimately satisfying experience. Unfortunately, this approach is inevitably what turns people off. Although I personally have no problem with delayed payoffs, other people seem to absolutely hate the idea that an anime can have little instant gratification and still be good.
From my perspective, the storyline is one of the highlights of the show. Though the anime starts out relatively simple, it soon expands into a very large and ultimately satisfying overarching story. Near the end, the anime moves beyond its previous themes (addiction to technology and violence) and flowers into a very well done allegory on the classic views of heaven and hell. The anime makes a case that every human society needs a healthy mix of humankind’s instinctive bestial tendencies and angelic high-minded philosophies and makes its case well.
Granted, this story is certainly not for the faint of heart, as it’s every bit as gloomy, depressing and grisly as the animation. For those wanting a pleasant, forgettable and life-affirming plot, I can’t urge you enough to stay away from this misanthropic and pessimistic show.
As for the rest, the last crucial question will found in the aforementioned slow beginning. While the exposition is by no means devoid of plot, the anime gives very little reason to care about what is going on. Rather than lead the audience along on an episode by episode basis, the writer makes a rather bold (and perhaps incorrect) assumption that everyone who sees the show will have the patience to slog through what is essentially groundwork. I personally found the superb animation to be more than enough incentive to continue, but many others may not even get past episode 1.
Absolutely brilliant – this is the first anime since Last Exile 9 months ago that I have been this impressed. In the first few episodes, where the storyline is kicking into gear, the animation was pretty much the only thing that kept me from getting bored. Especially in the visually brilliant first episode, the eye-candy that Texhnolyze sports is something that needs to be seen to be believed.
The backgrounds, for one, are probably the best I’ve seen. Dark, depressing cityscapes have been used before in anime, but never as well as what is seen here in Texhnolyze’s Lux. Every part of the city, with its grey sky, desolate streets and dilapidated buildings, works together to illustrate every bit of the living hell that Lux is supposed to represent. Character designs are also top notch; all of the individuals in the series emit a very detached and cold look that fits well into the dark and dreary setting.
Of equal merit is the absolutely amazing style of the entire show. Violent, gruesome, and morbid to the core, Texhnolyze is almost unsurpassed in imprinting images into your brain, whether you like them or not. Combat in particular looks like a million dollars, with beautifully fluid movement and flashy fatalities.
You can imagine my surprise when I found out that the opening theme was by one of my favorite bands in one of my favorite genres. The song is called “Guardian Angel,” by Juno Reactor, and is part of a relatively narrow but surprisingly popular subgenre of techno called psytrance. As luck would have it, this aggressive, grungy, and metallic song is a perfect fit for the anime, and does an excellent job of setting the mood for the rest of the show.
The rest of the O.S.T is a very interesting and varied mix that ranges from loud guitar solos to quiet violin and piano pieces. Overall, the songs fit pretty much seamlessly into the show (and are excellent to listen to). One exception, however, happens in the beginning of the final episode, where a loud, obnoxious and utterly distorted guitar "song" assaults the viewers for a full 5 minutes.
The nature of the anime doesn’t give voice actors a whole lot of room for emotion; if you’re the leader of an oppressive crime syndicate, for example, you’re pretty much expected to have ice in your blood. Fortunately, the seiyuu nonetheless manage to deliver unique voices to each of their respective characters despite this.
While by no means bad, the characters aren’t nearly as good as the rest of Texhnolyze. I found almost all of them to be strikingly charismatic, and some of them (Oonishi, Ichise, Shinji) were downright cool, but none of them ever really elicited sympathy. The storyline doesn’t really attempt to inject warmth or depth into the characters (it’s not that kind of a show), and as a result they feel more than a little like pawns in the overarching story - intricate and interesting pawns, perhaps, but pawns nonetheless. Every attempt at development and characterization feels unnatural and forced, and in the end this hurts the anime more than any other aspect of the show.
Texhnloyze might be my overall favourite anime of all time. It does everything I like while avoiding most things I do not. But as with everything else it definititely isn't for everyone.
Ichise is a brawler near the bottom of the social ladder who because of the whims of a sadistic woman gets a arm and a leg cut off and so falls down even further. We then get to see him slowly but surely climb back up and go from a outcast to a respected member of society over the course of the show.
This is more or less the basic premise of Texhnolyze but its strength lies in how the story is told. The city of Lux is ridden with political intrigues and infighting and questions quickly arise about the place. What exactly is Lux and where is it? Initial hints tells you that it seems to be far below ground but then where does all the oppresive light come from?
The politics are centered around the Organo, a organisation that promotes texhnolization and upholds the peace in Lux. On the opposite side is the Union who opposes giving humans mechanised limbs because they believe it deteriorates ones mind. Outside them is the Racan, rebellious youths who wants to enjoy their freedom and rejects hierarchy of all sorts. In the middle of all this we find Ichise and his struggle to come to terms with his own new limbs, crafted from the cells of his dead mother.
The story is every bit as grim as you might imagine. There is no room for silly antics, cute android girls who can lighten the mood or really any sort of respite from the misanthropic atmospehere that permeates the show.
Personally I love it but I can see how some people get tired of it. It is also a rather slow series that takes its time to show you the various factions and characters until really getting on with the story. Yet again I like it that way, had it skipped the initial introductory episodes things would have been confusing to say the least.
In short the writers have created a world and lets us see one mans journey through it. Questions are raised, answered and gives way to more questions. It also never forces anything on you, the story and intrigue always takes center stage.
My only gripe would be that sometimes they try and make it unnecessarily weird and confusing. While this is common in cyberpunk it really never is appreciated.
While not unique it's definitely different and well made. There are no big eyes, small mouths or round cheeks anywhere in sight. Everything looks rather natural, even the cyborg parts look rather unremarkable and helps with the bleak mood. The backgrounds are often gorgeous and really show how much time they've spent on the show. Looming skyscrapers, filthy alleys and hustling market streets are all there as is the clean, spacious offices of Organo. I also like how they've managed to make even light feel oppressive, like a dying sun that hangs over their heads.
Texhnolyze has one of the very few intros that I truly like and enjoy listening to. I got hold of some more Juno Reactor and it's all good. Too be honest I always like it when a show tries to do something different with even the sounds and music like Cowboy Bebop or Samurai Champloo. Anyway, the sound is simply highly competent. The voice actors fit, there are lots of little sounds everywhere that helps with the mood and even otherwise overly dramatic things like screams and such work well. While not perfect I don't have anything in particular to complain about.
There is something as odd as true character development going on here. Ichise is initially a selfish asshole prone to violence with little dialogue and goals beyond surviving to see the next day. But over the course of the show he gets more confident and at peace with himself. After a while he starts getting to know people and even develops leadership skills. While many shows tries to pretend character development and character exploration is the same thing Ichise really grows as a person, just that is worth a good score.
On the other hand few other characters has the kind of depth he has but the show is more about politics and intrigues than characterisation. Also few are terribly sympathetic but at least you usually know why they do the things they do so while you may not like them particulary you also never go "Why the hell would he do that?".
After I finished the last episode I sat with my arms around my knees and stared at the screen while the credits rolled. After that I closed the screen on my laptop and continued staring into nothing for five minutes. My brain was numb for hours after that, there was something about the ending that touched me in a way that few things has done before or after. Just for that the show is a 10 in my book, you really have to watch the whole thing to see what I'm getting at. For me the show is powerful and thoughtprovoking in a good way. You start wondering about this mysterious town and when the answers are given everything fits in a way that makes you feel satisfied.
Another thing is their rather unique take on the final fate of humanity. I won't say anything but it is both believable and of course very depressing.
As a final word I will as usual point out that not everyone will like this. There are no mechas, monsters or martial artists that will show awesome fights. There are no cute relationships or people who overcome barriers for the sake of love. Everything about Texhnolyze is depressing, slow and often gruesome. Personally I love it because of that but it most definitely isn't a show for everyone. But if you like Ghost in the Shell, Battle Angel Alita or maybe the Shin Megami Tensei games this should be right up your alley.
Okay, I watched the whole thing, and all I have to say is that it sucked. Really sucked. I swear that the first episode it took about ten minutes for the first word of the whole series to be uttered, and then it was another four minutes of silence. Another review I read said to start after the twelth episode, and if you have nothing better to do I would recommend that aswell. The story line sucked because it kept jumping back and forth from one thing to another and it left a whole bunch of holes in the story. Definitely not my cup of tea...wouldn't recommend it...
STORY: The plot is based on an underground city, Lukkus, and the areas surrounding it ( the Mountain, Gabe, Above-World). As in every fictional series, the anime has to explain the environment to the viewer while still having an effect as atually being part of the whole storyline. Texhnolyze does it perfectly. In each episode, a part of the mystery is uncovered and at the end you're sucked into the Texhnolyze world. The plot revolves around Ichise, Ran and various organizations. But, wait, no. This isn't one of those animes of a boy whose arch nemesis are evil,greedy Organizations. No. These Organizations stand about Ideals. Ichise's ideal on the other hand is something of a mystery and shouldn't be spoiled.
ANIMATION: Perfect dark tones, shades and colours. Perfect, realistic characters. Perfect anatomical features of technology.
SOUND: The Opening Theme and the Ending Theme couldn't be more different of each other, yet they fit so perfectly into the whole episode. Upbeat tracks and soft melodic tunes make their appearance into the episodes, but they are not overwhealming the dialogues. Generally, movies and animations try to make you feel something by emphasizing the music that is backed up by an event, while here it's the opposite. Events speak to you, while soundtrack is just adding more brilliance into it.
CHARACTERS: Personally, characters like Onishi, Doc, Yoshi and Toyama will be in my memory forever. The main protagonist, Ichise is really mercurial. The Ichise of the first episodes and the latter Ichise diverse a lot, something that bugged me in the middle of the series, but it justified itself in the end. The Seer ( Ran) is probably the character that mostly adds mystery to the show and turns out to be something remarkable.
A great psycological and philosophical anime about the Human race, Meaning of one's life and Will to Live.
Edit: I won't edit the review, as this is how I felt initially, but after subsequent rewatchings this is certainly one of the best, if not THE best anime out there. Nothing else is as raw, atmospheric, depressing, yet hopeful. Watch it an give it a chance. Rewatch it later and let it sink in.
Texhnolyze is one of the best anime's out there. It IS profound in many ways, at least as much as an anime can be. It is easily the best scifi anime I have seen, and most likely one of the best, if not the best out there.
But it is not for everyone. Texhnolyze starts off at a crawl. The first episode has nearly no spoken lines, flips around to scenes of many characters we simply don't know, and are unsure we should try and remember. The series does change from the pace of the first episode though, and crawls for more episodes than many would be able to go through without discontinuing it, or losing interest. This is all understandable, and I may would have dropped the anime had I not been watching it after having been forewarned about the pace.
That being said Texhnolyze has two distinct pick ups, and with each pick up, the previously bland parts are brought new meaning in a way absolutely unique to this series. Where some series had ugly parts, this series' slow parts only enhance the later parts. Of course the pacing issues are not going ot be excused by all viewers, and in some episodes it goes from painstakingly slow to so many things happening you will only catch half.
A complaint that is legitimate though, is that at times, Texhnolyze is ambiguous for the sake of being ambiguous, constantly cutting to a certain mediocre little girl female character for example, for little effect. On the other hand Texhnolyze is also brilliant through forcing the viewer to make inferences in order to understand, which is more rewarding and effective. However the feel of the setting is always solid, and by the end you will be blown away.
The animation here is great for many reasons, but very few of the typical ones. It's use of grit and colors isn't meaningless like most scifi animes, but rather actually conveys something, emotion or otherwise. It's use of contrasts and colors really sets the distinct themes up flawlessly. No it doesn't have movie production qualities, it really doesn't need them, the effect would probably be lost if it did. The only quirk is the action scenes aren't the best, but also aren't ugly.
One of the best openings I've heard, thank you Juno reactor. Very good use of sound throughout the series as well. Voice actors are sufficient, and in both versions do a good job.
Texhnolyze's characters aren't what makes it good, on the contrary most characters are awfully developed, and don't really impress on their own or elicit any sympathy. but they don't need to, and fit nicely in the story. Some might find quirks with some of the villains, a particular one in particular, who is lacking any kind of development, but the story, by the end, enhances rather than forgets, almost every character, even the small ones.
An amazing anime, though be ready for very dark stuff, if you are looking for something uplifting you are completely out of luck. It is the most depressing thing that I have viewed and is one of the only truly dark series out there. Great as it is I can't in good faith recommend it to anyone, because it is so unique it is hard to say assuredly who will and will not be able to understand and enjoy it. But if you agree with my other reviews, chances are you will be right at home here.