In an experimental city of despair and carnage, ORGANO will do anything necessary to gain power and wealth. Unfortunately for one underground boxer who was mutilated, a rogue doctor has given him what ORGANO specializes in and he despises: Texhnolyze body parts. Will these cybernetic appendages help exact his revenge upon the one who made him this way?
StorySerial 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.AnimationAbsolutely 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.SoundYou 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.CharactersWhile 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.OverallTexhnolyze 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.
Texhnolyze goes against everything that would appeal to the masses, with the most obvious example being fighting shonen and sports. There is no positivity, no willpower overcomes everything, no light at the end of the tunnel (hello Naruto). It is bleak and pessimistic, and it never tries to make you believe it’s going to change any time soon. Unlike many other series, it stays true to what you see in the first episode instead of switching to something completely different that is nowhere near as good (hello Sword Art Online). That’s how it stands out for most; as something anti-mainstream, a term that ends up being the same as “not cheap entertainment”. It’s not easily digestible and it’s certainly not something you air on television and expect high rates. Many still consider anime to be a niche medium. Texnolyze is a niche within a niche, aimed at those who seek something not saturated by shonentards and deviant otaku fetishes (hello Oreimo). It is also not different for the sake of being different, as is the case with pretty much everything nowadays that thinks it can stand out by subverting a couple of things and expecting the tasteless masses to hail it as a masterpiece (hello Akame ga Kill). It takes itself seriously and sticks to it.It is also animated and directed masterfully, instead of implying all it takes is to be dark and depressing with everything else not being important (hello Berserk 2016). With all that said, it is a difficult to watch series. I was personally bored while watching it, which is not the same as disliking it, but it definitely gives you plenty of excuses for giving up on it. The first fourth of the story is made to be as incomprehensible as possible. The characters talk little to no-at-all, exposition of what is going on 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 it.I know, it is show; don’t tell, and it’s made this way so it will either absorb you, or alienate you immediately. It was neither for me, since I watch pretty much everything, but it’s definitely causing a very polarizing reaction. And assuming you manage to be on the absorbing side, all you are getting is a confusing start that amounts to making you depressed because life sucks. That is the message of the show. I am not against negative emotions; I just hate it when there is no catharsis as the end. That is why I didn’t like Oyasumi Punpun, it never felt like it resolved anything in a way that wasn’t edge for the sake of edge. And I know many of you think that I am using that word as a buzzword with no real meaning when it’s so simple to tell the difference. Everything in this series is bleak, nothing stands out as super positive for no real reason, no victimizing or polarizing behaviors, it treats everybody the same way. I appreciate that as much as I liked the catharsis at the end which didn’t feel like a copout. No magic resets, no convenient change of hearts, no mcguffins to fix all problems. It’s the natural resolution of how things should play out. Which is basically me, telling you, that the show is predictable. There are no twists or surprises, it is what you see. I know many who don’t want to watch something if they know how it ends, or dislike it for not having a perfect ending where everybody is happy, but that was never the intention of the series. It’s one of those things where you enjoy the journey and not the destination, and by that I don’t mean the ending is bad. It is solid and makes sense, it’s just not unexpected or mind blowing. Take that as you like. If there is one legit criticism, that would be the duration of the series. The pacing is painfully slow, the plot is not that complex to deserve 22 episodes (Shinsekai Yori comes to mind), and the characters are very concept-based or apathetic to keep you preoccupied with their charm. If it was half as long or twice as fast, it would only improve the overall. The way it is, I was bored of it midway. It helps a lot if you are an emo who paints his nails black, but I am not such a person. Themes and storyboard are fine, as a pessimistic sci-fi about the dehumanizing side of technology it has a great atmosphere, but lacks empathy towards the characters, and you see it only as a fascinating world, instead of fascinating people living in a world they formed through their actions. You don’t care about them, you care about the world they are in. This is what makes it not very enjoyable or something that you will remember past its themes and atmosphere. Art & Sound: 9/10 (Great direction and atmosphere)Story: 5/10 (Great themes and solid ending with a very slow pace to make them feel boring)Characters: 5/10 (Nihilistic and very concept based, you don’t care about them as you do for the world they live in)Enjoyment: 3/10 (There is very little to care for and the pacing is very slow to keep you engaged)
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.
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