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.
Texhnolyze is an anime that I almost don’t want to recommend, because I know that a very large percentage of people will probably hate the show. Just as the animenfo average for Serial Experiments Lain has crashed to a lowly (by Nfo standards, anyway) 8.4, Texhnolyze will most likely share the same fate if too many people watch it. This worries me, because I think this show is excellent, no matter what many people may say about it. Assuming that you can keep awake through the beginning episodes, you will be rewarded with a strikingly intellectual show that delivers on almost every front. The dense, brainy and memorable storyline, combined with the consistently amazing animation, are more than enough to provide a pleasurable watch time and time again.
ARTSY ANIME SERIES
Full list of the review series can be found on this page, 3rd post from bottom:
Texhnolyze is a very interesting project. Trying to deconstruct some formulas and stereotypes, the production team decided to make it as ANTI-MAINSTREAM AS POSSIBLE. Meaning, it deliberately pisses on the casual viewers in an attempt to either make them give up on it or be assimilated to its quirky style. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE! … or isn’t it?
First of all I appreciate when the industry goes for something different instead of just rehashing the same old crap again and again. And indeed, ask anyone who has watched this show and he will admit that this is one of the weirdest shows ever; thus I call it in this regard a success. Well done you guys, I salute you.
The thing is, being weird/different and being exciting/entertaining are not one and the same, unless you have been completely saturated after the millionth tsundere loli hitting in an identically fashion some fail of a male specimen called “the ideal anime lead”. Sure, ok, fire away at this baby if you feel like it; chances are you will love it with this sort of mindset. I too am fed up with this crap and I do admit it is good to stand out from the manure piles. At the same time I didn’t exactly love how the show was begging me to hate it. I am not joking, it was yelling HATE MEEEE! For six episodes.
The first fourth of the story is made to be as incomprehensible as possible. The characters talk little to no-at-all, exposition of the story is minimal, the artwork is like the animators were stoned and the pacing is … well I don’t know what it is; time was irrelevant while watching. Although it was an interesting way of showing us an anti-mainstream way to begin a show, at the same time it was a pain in the butt to just keep watching. What is the purpose of this show? An objective? To feel depressed for the sake of feeling depressed? Even as such, for what reason? Give us a reason to be depressed! Of course the show was just aiming to be as mysterious and confusing as possible and for that reason it didn’t have some narrator explaining everything with forced monologues. It was all one big “Keep watching and find out you impatient fool!” type of attitude and as much as I liked it I still say it was annoying. I mean I knew there is some weird shit going in the story but leaving me hovering in the vacuum of space without some hook to why or whom is indeed something I am unable to stand for long. As so doesn’t most of humanity.
After the first fourth, the pacing of the show becomes easier to understand and for that reason more mainstream for casuals to follow (BLASPHEMY!) and from here on you can finally understand what is going on since people now TALK and slowly reveal stuff, while the animation is less stoned. The story is very interesting and it has to do with punishment and boredom of life. To put it bluntly, some guys are suffering because of their crimes and the legit guys just gave up on living and wait to die. Yippee! Makes no sense but then again it is also unorthodox and has nothing to do with FAKIN TSUNDERE LOLIS thus it is good.
Again, I remind you that being different and being entertaining are not the same thing and eventually the show demands from the viewer to be in a very-very-very specific mindset in order to be appreciated. For example, it demands from you to feel like an emo who hates the world and wants to die. Sorry to say this but most viewers watch a series in order to feel more positive emotions. The initial episodes were supposed to get you in the proper mood and chances are if you lived through them you will definitely be painting yourself white and polishing your nails black by now while wearing some KISS related uniforms. Good for you, you passed the entrance test. Thus the first part of the show is indeed telling you to hate it as means for only the chosen few emos to keep watching later. Very nice trick I must say.
… Hey so why did I continue watching it if I didn’t like it, you may ask? Simple, I gave up on it the first time and during the second try I just skipped the entry exams. Worked like a charm.
The rest of the series is very good as I said in terms of themes and storyboard. It is one fine piece of pessimistic sci-fi concerning all sorts of ghastly ways to be disgusted with bodily functions such as breathing, having sex or just listening to that damn heart of yours still beating in your chest. It practically has to do with the dehumanizing side of technology and how it slowly eats away emotions and morality to the point you become a machine yourself (duh, it’s right there in the title you idiot).
The thing is, the pacing of the episodes is way too slow and many of the characters are so apathetic you just don’t care about them. You end up watching ten episodes in a row with some uncaring people doing nihilistic stuff. There is no sympathy here and I’ll be damn if there is identification. The entire cast ends up being unimportant before the mood of the setting and thus you remember the show as “some weird world” and not “some weird machine people”. Which is bad in a way since it is people who make up the world or create the plot and not the other way around. Who are you people? I don’t care about you.
Texhnolyze is very good in terms of atmosphere and overall themes. The animation and the soundtrack fit its emo feeling, while the camera angles and the filters used are used properly to further maintain the feeling of joyless. I am very pleased with the successful overall direction of the show but in no way did I enjoy it. And perhaps that was the point all along, to feel bad. Well yes I do feel bad for watching it, not because it was badly done (in the contrary, it is very good in directing) but because I like cheerier stories, like most people do. WHAT THE HELL, I AM PILLED WITH THE MASSES NOW???
In all it is very good at making you feel bad. And in a way that is its motto: “So good it is bad” so to speak. Recommended if you feel like getting depressed and not recommended if you like rather straightforward, cheerier stories.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 8/10
General Artwork 2/2 (atmospheric)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 2/2 (atmospheric)
SOUND SECTION: 9/10
Voice Acting 3/3 (fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 3/3 (creepy)
STORY SECTION: 6/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 0/2 (damn slow and confusing)
Complexity 2/2 (rich context)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 2/2 (solid)
CHARACTER SECTION: 4/10
Presence 0/2 (invisible)
Personality 1/2 (basic)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 6/10
Historical Value 1/3 (still remembered by some as an interesting retro title)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of the too weird plot)
Memorability 4/4 (extremely moody to the point of forever remembering it)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10
I liked its moody atmosphere but the characters are like invisible and the story is hard to tolerate.
Cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic setting, sounds like everything you've been looking for, right?
Well, its not. Keep on looking. Don't waste your time. Its hours upon hours you'll never get back.
It isn't absolutely terrible, but its mind-numbingly bland without anything particularly original or engaging. It feels like you're watching medicore Reality TV.
In just one word... disappointing.
Time to sit down and enjoy a nice relaxing…..wait, what the heck is going on?
Story - 5/10
So before I even review I have to say there's something rather strange about the series. I enjoyed the whole thing, from start to finish, but no matter how interested I was I always started to fall asleep or feel tired. Maybe it was the music or maybe an odd frame rate (24fps on a projector does induce sleep but these aren't flickering images like a projector) but for some reason I'd always be pumped to watch and see what happens next and then start to nod off.
Secondly, though many have recommended it, don't skip past the first half of the series. If all you want is action and violence, this anime isn't for you. To just jump right to the second half is to admit you have no use for thinking when it comes to entertainment, you just want images fed to your brain without having to do any work, which is ok, but it says more about you than it does this very well made series.
Ok, so in the future there is apparently a rash of errant helicopter blades, Ben Hur style scythes and people who don't know how to use blenders, because everybody seems to be missing an arm or leg (which joking aside does get answered) This who choose to replace their lost limb, and are lucky enough to afford it, can have be texhnolyzed, a process that replaces your lost limb with a bionic (or is it synthetic when made of human cells?) prosthesis and an eye implant that allows you to monitor the status of your limb as well as see a computer overlay of the world with information to help the user.
The world of Lux is city below the real world, long ago humans were cast off to live there due to their violent nature. Forced to create a new society many broke off into small factions, essentially the mob, young street punks and Anti-Science (Texhnolization) Everyman. While there is tension between the groups, they all seem to work together when they have to and understand they all have a role to play in the city.
While the main focus is on a character named Ichise, he doesn't move much of the story along. For a majority of the series he seems to just be there, since the attack that took his arm and leg Ichise pretty much walks the world in a drugged out haze as he tries to assimilate to his new body. In the second half of the series he becomes a loyal enforcer to one particular Organo member, but still he's more or less a vessel for us to walk us through the more important parts of the story while having sometime little to no bearing on them.
The first part of the series is shaped by Yoshii, a visitor from the surface world who thinks he can fix the problems of Lux, problems few down there really care about. He tries to cause trouble for his own entertainment and eventually inadvertently helps Ichise figure himself out.
The second part of the series focuses on Ichise's work for the Organo and the unveiling of truth behind Texhnolyzation. It's all a bit confusing and things work themselves out in sloppy, haphazard, ways that don't answer even a tenth of the questions they end up asking, but it's still pretty interesting.
Animation - 6/10
There was strangeness about the animation in the show. While it wasn't spectacular or ground breaking, it was nice in it's simplicity. When it came to the characters themselves, it was something we'd see before, but that's what the shows supposed to be, everyone basically looking the same, down trodden and worn out. I'll also take that answer for the difference in the way Ichise looks from episode 1 to episode 2, I actually had to go back a recheck the first episode because he looks similar to the character we see, but still very different.
Where the series' animation peaks is in the backgrounds and special effects. They again keep the city's minimal, but still did a great job conveying what's gone on in the lives of the people there. Very often they did their best to not just reuse the plates again and again, even within a building we're treated to multiple camera angles that show an entire room and not just the titling of a often used window or door.
So where most series fail miserably, the computer effects and other effectish drawing techniques, Texhnolyze excelled in. First, and most commonly used, was the eye implant that all texhnolized patients get, some of it's aspects are CGI or flash animation and it actually looks pretty good, not your typical one dimensional car every other series seems to throw in for the hell of it. The same can be said for the lighting effects, with such a dark series they were only used sparingly, so it never became gimmicky. They also did a great job of using light to create a dim atmosphere, by washing out color. The final effect used, and actually quiet often, was the fuzz thrown over times of battle, used to convey the change in mindset of Ichise, it's a great contrast from the boldly colored and contrasted style used during the rest of the series.
Sound - 7/10
The sound in the series is really based completely on the lack of it. For the most part the background music is sparse, and when it is there it's used as purely background, never blasting over the sound effects or talking. This works great is a series where so much is based around the quietness of a city thats not there, an underground forgotten. The music they use as background is very catchy, a mix of light techno, bluegrass and jazz, reminiscent of what was done with the Cowboy Bebop and Trigun soundtracks. The series also makes great use of natural sounds to fill in the space, from just the air blowing past or dust rustling in the street, it give such a perfect tone to the series.
The only music used at normal volumes are the opening and closing credits, and they work well. The opening song is a techno track that matches the animation, it reminds me of what BoogiePop did with their opening, very early nineties public access TV. The closing track, is a nice acoustic song, that while not fitting with the series, isn't a bad song in itself.
I enjoyed the English voices too, even if it did take three episodes to hear more than a dozen words. Like the music, the voices never really blast out over the speakers, everyone is calm, resigned to the fate in store for them.
Characters - 4/10
Outside of our protagonist, Ichise, there isn't much originality in the characters. Psychopath, Yakuza like leader, tender love interest, we've seen them all over and over again. They tried to switch a few things up, like making sure no matter how bad those main character's from Lux seemed, they all still had an inner conscience, which is what those who were banished to Lux originally lacked.
The real characters for a majority of the show are the concept of Texhnolization and the mystery of the seer, Ran. It's not until very late in the series do we learn a bit of the backstory of Ichise, Kaneda or even Lux itself, and even then we're left with so many questions and gaping plot holes. The characters are intriguing in their mystery, but at some point it's nice to know a bit about them, especially when you start to drop some hints, and then abruptly give up on that path.
Overall - 6/10
For such a slow series, with large portions being encompassed by pure visuals, it was pretty captivating. They took a unique look at a sci-fi, post apocalyptic world, and how it may not be caused by violence and destruction, but instead by the best intentions. Just don't do as I did, watch it in the middle of the day, with the lights on and a cup of coffee, or you might miss little tidbits of info that will make trying to decipher everything a whole lot easier.
Texhnolyze,depresive,dark,dirty... these are the feelings you can expect to get after an episode of Texhnolyze.Being a cyberpunk anime it delivers us all that depression.Don't expect to see any fun moments in this one it starts telling you a story about a broken society and untill the very end where that society totaly crumbles into pieces owing to the power struggles, everything stays broken and dark.
Story is in my opinion very good,it is about an underground city which is important and run by mafia connected people,there are also other mafia groups who want controll of the city so there are many fights between them untill another group with way stronger power comes and tries to claim the control of the city(simply put).Also there are prosthetic body parts and all but I will not go into that stuff since I don't want to spoil more story parts.Characters are also well detailed since there are only a handfull important characters it isn't very hard to remember who is who or who is evil and who is not.The story starts at a very slow pace and it stays slow untill the end so if you are looking for something action packed unfortunately Texhnolyze won't satisfy you.
The sounds and songs throughout the anime are fitting the atmosphere of the show.Animations are different than other anime's not bad but may be a little dark for some viewers.Landscapes and places are very detailed and there is always a movement almost in every scene.My only problem with this one is the amount of gore presented is in my opinion very low.I mean you put so many tits and asses on the screen and make the statement that this anime is for adult people but when time comes for an important character to die all we see is a swing of sword and flowers flying around a dead body,disappointing but this gets kind of repaired after episode 10.
In conclusion,this is a good story to watch but is also progressing very slow,and it is presented in an artistic way so if you don't have a problem with these facts,I urge you to give it a try.
PS. It has a great final episode.