Pros: Fluid animation, believable characters, original music, outstanding dub, mature plot.
Cons: Slow pace, lack of humor and fan-service may be a turn-off to some.
Texnholyze is, in short, a dark, allegorical tale that is intended only for the most patient of viewers. With character designs from ABe (Serial Experiments Lain, Haibane Renmei), producer Yasuyuki Ueda (Ergo Proxy, Hellsing), and screenplay from Chiaki J. Konaka (Serial Experiments Lain, RahXephon), Texhnolyze seems to garner some pretty high expectations for itself. In my opinion, it delivers, but I cannot speak for everyone. You will have to simply watch and see for yourself.
In terms of the series' animation, I doubt that there are many series that surpass Texhnolyze. The background art definitely does a fantastic job of conveying the dark atmosphere of Lux, and each of the main characters can easily be identified when in a crowd. Ran's character design especially stands out. One of the things that amazed me the most about the series' art was the fact that when one character is speaking, the other characters still blink, and, depending upon what is being said, their facial expressions change as well. Another plus was the fact that, when characters became angry, their outbursts were believable, and not forced or obnoxious in the slightest.
The English dub for this series is, in my opinion, nearly flawless. I have not yet viewed the series in Japanese, and so cannot comment on that. Patrick Seitz, Onishi's VA, is probably the VA with the most spoken lines in the entire series, with Carrie Savage as Ran having probably the fewest (I think she speaks for a total of less than ten minutes in the entire twenty-two episode series). Nonetheless, all of the characters sound like real people, with none of them sounding exaggerated or over-dramatic. No irritating bubbly females or brash, immature male leads in this series.
Texhnolyze has one of the best soundtracks that I have heard in quite some time. The opening theme, "Guardian Angel" by Juno Reactor, is a techno piece that I think reflects very well the series' violence, technological aspects, and insanity, while the closing theme, Gackt's "Tsuki No Uta" reflects the series' ever-present sadness. The closing theme used in the series' last episode, "Walking Through The Empty Age", is perfectly fitting, in both mood and lyric. It is haunting yet uplifting, which mirrors the series' bittersweet conclusion. The background music is appropriate as well, at some times melancholy, and others, haunting and full of energy. Anyone fond of Ergo Proxy's soundtrack is sure to love this one.
Many of the people who view Texhnolyze either complain about or at least comment on the series' pacing. I will admit that the pacing is slow, but as the series progresses, the story gains more momentum, the characters and their relationships with each other become more interesting, and overall, the series becomes more engrossing. As far as the characters go, some complain that Texhnolyze lacks character development, but I must disagree. While very few of the characters in Texhnolyze are given a backstory, you come to know each character's personality through watching how they react to the events that take place throughout the series, and as you watch the main characters come to develop relationships with each other, you come to care for almost all of them. I will admit that because Texhnolyze seems to resemble an allegory, some of the characters are not explored fully, and are merely there for the purpose of moving the story along.
Some of the themes that are explored in Texhnolyze include loneliness and fear, as well as finding one's place in the world and rejecting the circumstances that life has given to you. I believe that Texhnolyze's real story is one of finding a reason to go on living, regardless of situation, and in the end, Texhnolyze explores the question of what would happen to humanity once we reach our evolutionary end. The series may not be as much of a "head-trip" as Serial Experiments Lain, a previous series that a few of Texhnolyze's staff worked on, but the fact that it does explore the effects of the city of Lux on each character's mind should be enough to satisfy any potential viewer in search of a good psychologically-based series. I would recommend this to those in search of a mature series that does not rely on fan-service, humor, blood, or robots for its thrills, and can only hope that future viewers are not turned off by the series' initial pacing.
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