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.
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 of my life 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.
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.
Oh hey, it's review number 22. That just so happens to be my age, too. I guess I should celebrate by reviewing another favorite of mine. Let's see what we have here. Ah, how about Texhnolyze, Madhouse's 22 episode anime series. There is that number again. Jeez, what a coincidence! I really do love the show and its been in my permanent favorites list since early 2010. That said, the usual rules are in effect. No spoilers or cursing. Please read, review my review and comment on this and other reviews I have done. It helps me greatly. Thanks for reading and enjoy the review of the show.
Story; Ever consider abandoning principles and morals? Well, Texhnolyze's Ichise did just that. He abhors his new arm and leg that he obtains from a pretty crazy female doctor. Well, stuff happens and my memory is pretty hazy after most of the WTF moments in the second half of the series. Some of the stuff that they come up with, oh boy! Anyway, it should go without saying, but I may as well ay it because some are dense. The story is pretty complicated and the meaning behind things is pretty difficult to understand. Texhnolyze is a thinking or mental anime. Mature and dark in every corner.
Animation; It is a very dark series. That is really what it boils down to the animation front. Even on the surface, it has the dark tones to it. It is a significantly dark series no matter how you want to look at it. Settings are beautiful and articulate. Character designs look fantastic. ABe does great work and surpasses Haibane Renmei, Lain and Niea Under seven no problem with this work. Dark series can be beautiful too.
Sound; The soundtrack is a rock or techno mix, I would lean more towards rave music in fact. It is a great soundtrack and I am pleased to own both soundtracks. The opening is a great piece of music, it gets you pumped up for the depressing episode ahead easily and without fail. The ending, sung by Gackt, is a fantastic and depressing but somewhat hopeful piece. The English track was listened to for the entire series and I briefly listened to the Japanese track. You would be safe to listen to it either way, both are excellent work by the actors and actresses involved. It is fantastic.
Characters; By far the weakest thing the anime has going for it. How does it still get a ten in this area? Simple. Its weakness is actually its strength. Texhnolyze showed me that character development or back story is needed in an anime. The show and its characters can still be impacting and unique in their own ways. It's realistic in that I do not care to hear back stories. Texhnolyze doesn't live in the past. It lives in the present or here and now. It lives in this dystopian, depressing and insane world. You can get hurt for dwelling on the past. Texhnolyze has proven this.
Overall; I truly love Texhnolyze. Words cannot begin to express that love nor do I think words can begin to express it. I will say this that if you do not like dark series with truly terrifying moments, avoid this anime series. It is pure insanity and despair. By the end of it, you will have fallen into despair and depression over what you have witnessed over the course of this series. You will be numb and confused of what to do. Very few anime can be truly life-altering, Texhnolyze is one of those few. It's like nothing you have ever seen before. This is one of the many high points in animation. Period.
I'm going to be honest starting this review, Texhnolyze is a hard show to watch and, as a result, is just as hard to recommend. The reason why I say this is because the series tasks itself with presenting a complex world and cast as simply as it possibly can script-wise. No long bouts of exposition to clue the viewer in on how the world works and a near complete lack of dialogue in the earlier episodes make getting into Texhnolyze somewhat of a sink or swim experience. Those who are curious to properly know the context behind the strange, unexplained imagery of the 1st couple of episodes will make it through. Those looking for instantly appealing and an addicting storyline will be left high-and-dry if they don't want to compromise for this title. Texhnolyze isn’t completely like Angel's Egg, however, it does eventually open its dark heart for all to see and it is disturbingly beautiful to look at.
The world of Texhnolyze is bizarre in that manages to reflect on the characters living within it. The underground city of Lux is broken, dirty place to be, one where much of the infrastructure seems to be on the verge of collapse. Within the confines of Lux remains only a culture of utter chaos and violence as factions of differing ideals clash over their perceived supremacy. Watching it all unfold is a lesson in the many different things people will use as a crutch in order to desperately climb to an ideal future. From the idea that people should pin their hopes in technological advancements (in this case, the ability to merge man with advanced prosthetic in a process known as Texhnolyzation) to give them the cultural rebirth so desperately needed, to the separate ideals of the individual factions fighting for control over the city. Everyone has a role to play in this decaying setting, except for our main character Ichise.
Having known only his former life as a prize fighter, Ichise is left without a set path or any sense of identity as he slowly wanders about the crumbling city, unable to face any adversity without violently lashing out like an animal as he's done all throughout his life. Even when enlisted by the Organo (one of the major factions of Lux) his lack of purpose stands in stark contrast with the rest of the cast, people who have nothing but their ambitions to keep them going in these desperate times. The world Ichise is a part of however is one where the hopes and dreams of everyone always come to naught, so striving for anything better is essentially the same as flailing pointlessly against the walls of a cruel fate. Some individuals flaunt their existence more than others, but who will be left to take notice? What will be left behind other then a pile of rubble? Through this Texhnolyze posits that there will be a time in which the efforts of the high-minded and the listless will be both equally crushed to dust and forgotten and thus mankind will die. The inhabitants of Lux inch towards their inevitable collapse, each day a messy combination of sex, violence, and finding sustenance to keep moving onwards for yet another day of sex violence and sustenance. If futility is the one constant amongst the cast, how they cope upon realizing the pointlessness of all they've done is what defines them in the end. Will they take Yoshii's approach and spend their remaining days looking for that which is most amusing? Will they shift gears completely and look to something/someone else for their salvation? Or will they simply give up hope and rot away?
Not a show to pick up your mood! Though that's something that works in the shows favor for me. It's honest and confident enough with its core material to not add any distractions to the reality of the events by shoehorning in levity or fan-service of any capacity (there are some sex scenes/nudity but given the context of them they aren't exactly titillating). One also should never expect Texhnolyze to really go out of its way to make anyone like or sympathize with these characters. That's not to say doing so is impossible, it's just that it got me to care about its cast of increasingly desperate individuals through characterization that is far more subtle than dropping a character's sad backdrop on our heads all at once in the form of flashbacks. It manages to present the characters motives, philosophies and development without relying on shortcuts to get the viewer emotionally involved. It's the type of characterization that makes the cast feel less like "characters" and more like humans by presenting their day-to-day activities with little bias, leaving it up to the viewer to find someone to root for. For much of the show there isn't much of a semblance between heroes and villains save for perhaps Onishi (who strives to keep Lux from falling into utter madness without relying on underhanded tactics like some other members of his faction, the Organo), Yoshii who is essentially an agent of chaos, and the Class whose attitude towards the residents of Lux don't become clear until the later episodes. It's a tale of survival -often survival at the expense of others without really much room ethics. Overall I'd say the cast makes up for their lack of warmth with a surplus of depth, which is fine by me.
All of this madness and despair is compounded by the top-tier direction which enhances immersion considerably. Sound design and shot composition are work together harmoniously particularly in the opening episodes to give viewers a better idea of what Ichise's confused new lifestyle is like. The series directors will make damn sure you know what it looks to struggle endlessly trying to climb up a staircase after losing a couple of limbs, or how it’s like to wander aimlessly throughout a city while having to adapt to complex prosthetic you never asked for whilst racked with bodily pains. Basic human functions are perfectly handled with bodily functions such as breathing, having sex or just listening to that fucking heart of yours still pulsating in your chest, all being presented their most raw way possible. The brilliant animation/art quality don't hurt much either. The strong visuals and instantly remarkable character designs speak for themselves (this is Madhouse remember? what did you expect?), but the score is quite understated, only perking up noticeably during less slow scenes for the most part. When it is prominent you'll hear an amusing variety of themes that ranges from guitar and violin solos to piano pieces that all fit the series perfectly and are great standalone works too. The standout piece for me is the ending theme by Gackt, which nearly brings tears to my eyes every time I listen to it.
Texhnolyze is undoubtedly dense and as far as presentation goes, is as unforgiving as the setting it portrays. This is a title that expects a lot from the audience and will leave them behind at a moment’s notice. Everything about Texhnolyze is depressing, slow and often gruesome, but most of all believable in terms of its characters and its arguments. Stick it out through the mentally taxing start and you might never find a more harrowing, visceral think-piece regarding human civilization on its last legs.