7/18/2009

Texhnolyze


I took notes for this one, but there's no telling if I'll be able to make sense of them. From the first episode I got the feeling I should take some sort of notes, otherwise when I went to review it, I wouldn't remember anything. Texhnolyze is one of those weird shows where the story is just all over the place. It's created by Chiaki J. Konaka and Yoshitoshi ABe (both from Serial Experiments Lain), so that should give you some ideas.

Texhnolyze (which can be pronounced Tech-no-lyze) follows Ichise, a prize fighter who loses an arm and a leg and gets texhnolyzed limbs (a sort of robotic prosthetic with a bit of a will of its own) to replace them. There's also a young girl named Ran who sees the future, a mysterious man named Yoshii sowing chaos within the city of Lux, Onishi the leader of the Organo group, Shinji the young leader of the Racan gang, and Doc the texhnolyze specialist (she is a serious FREAK; she gets off on installing and working on texhnolyze limbs). Onishi's Organo group, Shinji's Racan gang, and another more mysterious group called the Union, all fight for power in the city of Lux. They manage to maintain a delicate balance for the most part, Onishi's negotiating skills preventing a city wide war. After being texhnolyzed against his will, Ichise wanders aimlessly, interacting (mostly by accident) with the groups, until all hell breaks loose and he finds himself working for the Organo. When a mysterious man arrives in Lux looking to to rule the entire city, battle lines are drawn, and it's all Ichise can do to stay alive and protect those he cares about (Onishi and Ran specifically).

The first episode of the series consists of a boxing match, a shoot out, slicing off of limbs, a girl in a fox mask, and about 10 lines of dialog. The rest of the series is pretty light on dialog as well (though with considerably more than 10 lines of dialog), and with both dubbings standing about equal, it's down to your personal preferences of reading subtitles or listening in English. It's also accompanied by some fantastic music and the excellent use of sound effects.

Basically, if you've seen your 10th super moe school girl show of the year, then maybe it's time for something like Texhnolyze. I'd like to tell you that it's as much of a mind fuck as Serial Experiments Lain, but the story is pretty straight forward. There's some psychobabble nonsense around episode 10, and a lot of techno babble in the later half of the series, plus lots of stuff about destiny, human nature, and the heartbeat and will of a living city. But really, I got the impression several times that it was just being weird for the sake of being weird. Or maybe I just didn't "get" it. Visually it's excellent, and the show's presentation fits the tone very well, but it can sometimes overshadow the plot. And frankly, by the end, the show doesn't make any sense what-so-ever.

As main characters go, Ichise is a little plain. It takes 12 episodes before we start to find out anything about him. For the most part he just sort of goes with the flow of things, without making many of his own decisions, doing whatever he's told, and not showing just a whole lot of individuality besides a short temper, a lot of apathy, and a violent streak. Ran has a mostly visual presence, without many lines, though frankly I was a little unsure of her role. She's a seer, worshiped by the people of Gabe, but she's always wandering around Lux on her own. She claims to only see one of many possible futures, and it's mentioned several times in the show that she only sees one possibility. Yet somewhere down the line, her visions are taken as laws not to be broken, which is rather contradictory. Onishi however is pretty cool, and he's at the center of the story as much as Ichise is.

It is a really interesting show, and it's very well made (it's from Madhouse, and they do good work), though I think it tries to be too many things at once. It's just a little hard to follow, and not well explained. There are 22 episodes on 6 discs from Geneon. DVD extras include clean credits (and the ending from the final episode has some beautiful music, not to mention the excellent opening for the series), interviews with the creators, and alternate dialog outtakes (ie: English VAs goofing off).

13 comments:

aprilius20 said...

Hmm, 'got the feeling I should take some sort of notes, otherwise when I went to review it, I wouldn't remember anything' = weird, confusing, and not very memorable- is what I thought at first, until you mentioned that the people behind Lain were involved- that explained everything, haha. So it's good, but mind-blowing?

Kris said...

Good, but not really mind-blowing. It's sort of a confusing mess, really. It's not bad by any means, but it should have been better.

xJAYMANx said...

@Kris-chan: Yeah, this is another title that's been in my Netflix queue for years. Literally, years. Probably because of its mediocre Netflix rating. Who knows? Maybe I'll finally see it in the next few years, lol. Any reason I should hurry to bump it up?

Kris said...

Not unless, like I said, you're tired of super moe moe school girls, and you want something different. Otherwise, I don't think I'd rush it up, unless you're specifically in the mood for something like that.

Speaking of moe moe school girls.... I started watching K-On yesterday, and it's incredibly cute and funny. I didn't respond to your blog that covered it because I hadn't seen it, but I'm sure I'll be writing my own review here soon.

My next blog (on Sunday) will cover another manga (well, a manhwa), and I wanted to talk about a couple of films I've seen, and Fruits Basket, and then maybe K-On.

xJAYMANx said...

@Kris-chan: Hmm, I don't prefer "moe" or "non-moe" one way or the other. But to be clear, I didn't really cover "K-On!" either, lol. Just my one-sentence speed-review, some befuddled weekly flashbacks observing how ridiculously popular it became, plus a ton of wallpapers. Nothing of real consequence, lol.

aprilius20 said...

K-On, eh? I did think of watching it- after all, it's by the same people who did Lucky Star. After all the whining that it's no more than a LS clone, I pushed it further down the list in terms of watch-priority. As it drifted further and further down, the 'Don't say you're lazy' song caught my attention- everyone was mad about it, it seemed, and others were raving about the music... so I listened to the 'lazy' song, thinking it would be something great, but hated it instead. Which is why I don't think I'll be watching it anytime soon. Maybe a year or two down the road, but not now.

...I just noticed this, but the green guy in the Texhnolyze poster looks a lot like a younger version of Golgo 13...

Kris said...

The "Lazy" song is alright, but I wouldn't sell the show on it. It's animated really well though (the ending sequence).

It's not a bad show. It's really funny, I think. It reminds me more of Azumanga Daioh than Lucky Star (although when I saw LS, I basically said it was an AD clone, so take that as you will, lol). The humor is different. K-ON is cute and sweet (like AD), Lucky Star is full of otaku humor.

It's cute, and it's funny, but there's nothing about it really that makes it a "must watch" except some light laughs. There's nothing profound there; it's just some friends goofing around (though the character relationships are good). I'll do a better review soon.

xJAYMANx said...

@Kris-chan: Better review? This is basically all you need! Just summarize it even further, add a star-rating, and voila! A nice bite-sized review! ^_^

ryushidude said...

@Kris

I enjoyed your review of Texhnolyze, and it's refreshing that people are giving such an underrated series a look. I'm a massive fan of it, and it rates very high on my favourite animes list.

I do admit at times the series seems to be anti-everything, what with the lack of dialogue and so on. But I didn't find the story that confusing. I think Texhnolyze would rather tell it's story using symbolism more than anything else. But the "living will of the city" did confuse me.

One other thing of note, when Ichise goes to the surface world, a lot of the imagery is inspired by Edward Hopper's paintings. Was hoping to one day do a comparison between painting and image from the show but I'm too lazy

Kris said...

Oh! I didn't know that. I don't know much about art. But taking a look at some of his work now, it makes sense.

And I agree that the story is told through a lot of symbolism rather than a lot of dialog.

I think the "living will of the city" was strange in part because they kept talking about it, but nothing really came of it. Even if you think Ran was the "will of the city" (and I think Onishi says this near the end), what's her real impact? What does she decide? In the end, she just lets the destruction happen, and asks Onishi to kill her. So in the end, it seems much more the will of one (totally insane) man, and the "city" doesn't really do anything to stop it. Unless what the city WANTS is to just die.

Thanks for stopping by!

Stier said...

I saw the first chapter of this, yet i wasn't able to understand anything... at all.

What a headache-giving show -___-

Kris said...

Yeah...it doesn't really get much easier. :) In fact, I'd say it gets more confusing as it goes on. And at the end, you're still kind of left wondering what the point of all that was. But at least it's very visually appealing.

xJAYMANx said...

@Kris-chan: Sounds like watching some S&M lesbian porn, lol.