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Texhnolyze

A 22-episode anime series directed by Hiroshi Hamasaki

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Can't Live at All....Without Paying the Full Price

  • Sep 12, 2013
Rating:
+4
There are anime features that are intended to be action entertainment, many are made for fun, while some that serve up fan service and then there are some that really try to push the boundaries of storytelling. These are the anime that can be polarizing, and yet somehow they manage to leave a haunting feeling after its end credits. It manages to provoke and even make viewers struggle in understanding what they have seen. Created by the guys responsible for “Serial Experiments Lain”, director Hiroshi Hamasaki’s cyberpunk anime series “Texhnolyze” is a surreal, alienating anime series that seeks to push its limits and can prove to be taxing to the casual anime viewer.

Many years ago, humankind had fled underground and has created a new society. The descendants of those who founded this world is now ruled by the Yakuza alliance called the Organo and kept alive for the purpose of mining Raffia, a miraculous moss that grows beneath the city of Lux. This city is a barely controlled society with the Racan, the Salvation Union and the Organo seeking supremacy. Life in Lux is harsh, but for those who are able to afford it, it isn’t so bad. People can replace lost body parts with the use of a mystic science called “Texhnolozation”.

      

The focus of the series of the series is an orphan turned pit fighter named Ichise (Satoshi Haga) loses his right arm and left leg, who through the stroke of fate is saved by a woman (Shizumi Miki) through the use of a new form of ‘texhnolyze’ science. With his new limbs, Ichise is taken under the wing of the leader of the Organo, Onishi (Takashi Inoue) as he is drawn to a battle for territory in the city. But things get even more scary as a young girl who can see the future, Ran (Shizuka Ito) guides him through the darkest shadows of a future. Now with the emergence of war, Ichise must learn the secret of the city of Lux and the world above.

Chiaki Konaka’s screenplay sets such a strong brooding and moody tone that proved fitting to this premise. The first episode had almost no dialogue, as Ichise and Ran were introduced; the writing creates a powerful sense of mystery as to the world that surrounds them. Episodes 1-6 keeps details to a minimum, as the viewer becomes privy to the characters that would play a huge part in its story. By episode 7, the viewer is left with no solid answers, but rather is presented with more things to ponder. Questions presents more questions, as the direction creates a sleepy yet magnetic tension. Admittedly, the series’ pacing is very slow and only until it reaches episode 8, does the pace pick up a little, as the blood and violence begin to show its ugly face. From episode 12 and on, the story begins to unwrap and what was seen before reaches its climactic finale.

       

The series can indeed be alienating and the pacing rather testing. It has an abundance of themes that is relevant to how we see our lives. Technology can indeed be humanity’s friend, but it is also a way to lose sight of what truly is, and it can lead to doom. Humanity requires a form of order to try and hide the possibilities of chaos, even the illusion of order and control may be enough or be important for one to live? There were also several subtle symbolisms that could be seen in the visual imagery. This may aid with the series’ comprehension in many ways. “Texhnolyze” is a series that requires attention, since it has a lot of things to read into, rather than simply watch. It is also quite graphic and even has some things that proved disturbing; incest, rape, and mutilations are rich in the series. However, the writing and the direction makes such things necessary parts in its story. They did not feel cheap or set only to provoke a reaction, but rather the brutality and mature themes were essential parts of its characterization.

There is quite a number of characters in the series, and while the focus was on Ichise, Ran, Onishi and “Doc”, secondary players such as Shinji (Shinya Kitade), Yoshii (Takashi Tsuchida), Toyama and Sage (Takahiro Koyama) proved just as essential to the development of its story. The direction and the script made a successful gamble; while some may see it as being unfocused and rather incoherent, I saw the way the plot was developed through characters’ experiences, just how it created a mystery, and how their motivations were masked, the viewer was given a chance to ponder and be involved with what the characters were going through. The characters were small pieces of what was coming into play, as if a universe governed what was being seen. It is a unique gamble that paid off, as I was made to feel the emotions that could be going through each sequence. Hey, I do have to admit that there were times that I became a little frustrated, and really, this is not the type of anime one should watch after a tiresome day.

             

The animation of the series had a gloomy aura and it aided with the delivery of its more depressing mood. Colors were muted and there were times that some frames were more grainy than the others. The character designs by Yoshitoshi Abe looked rather photo-realistic, and did not have the over-expressive eyes that has become a familiar staple to anime. Narratively and physically, the direction made a flow as if there is no joy in the world; there is a haunting atmosphere to its cinematography, as he maneuvers his camerawork with a form of reluctance. The story is told with an almost mechanical style, as if the direction was trying to communicate with a foreboding feeling of dread and ruin. The set pieces were very good, they are dirty and depressing, and yet, the artfully stylized atrocities speak a lot of a form of celestial inescapability.

“Texhnolyze” can be rather testing to one who is an inexperienced anime watcher, since it is a form of cinema. It feels as if a gloom had come over its viewer and yet, somehow, the series is magnetic. There is something really smart around the corners of its story, and it does communicate the price of human flesh and just how extinction can come in the form of a whimper even when it comes in a bang. The creators were able to communicate a grand intellectual vision of extinction and its disturbing implications. I mean, with the surface dwellers abandoning their need of flesh, to become technological phantoms in an almost perfect world, while the bottom-dwellers cling to their needs of the flesh has a very mean statement of nihilism. It is a vision of a future that is poignant, intelligent and should not be missed. No, the series is not for everyone, and it is more haunting than entertaining, but having minds provoked is a monumental achievement, whether you agree to this vision or not. Highly Recommended. [4 ½ Out of 5 Stars]










 

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October 28, 2013
Some spooky pictures!
 
September 17, 2013
Great review once again WP.
September 18, 2013
you should see this one
 
September 14, 2013
Okay, I gotta schedule some time next week to watch this anime series. By the way, did me mentioning this in a past discussion prompt you to watch this?
September 14, 2013
Yes in a way. I think you mentioned it in one of our conversations. It went on sale recently and so I asked Frank which of the titles I really should get (trying to be picky) and he strongly recommended getting this one before it goes out of print again. Glad I did.

I would be very curious about your thoughts on this.
 
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More Texhnolyze (Anime) reviews
review by . December 20, 2009
I can hear the voice of the city...
   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 …
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Wiki

Texhnolyze takes place in the underground city of Lux (or "Lukuss"). The citizens of Lux have come to call it "The City" and treat it as a sentient force. Three factions vie for control of the city: the Organo, a conglomerate with ties to the criminal underworld in the prosthetics business ("Texhnolyze"); the Union, a populist group interfering with Organo's affairs; and Racan, a marauding group of Texhnolyzed youths. There is also the "Class", privileged individuals living in an adjacent sealed city, who are the intermediaries between Lux and the surface, and "Gabe", a village where the historic leaders of Lux live, worshiping Ran, a young prophetess who can see the future. The series follows Ichise, a prize fighter who loses a leg and an arm to satisfy an enraged promoter. As he struggles to accept his new robotic limbs and find a place where he belongs, he witnesses the major changes the city goes through.
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