Story by Chiaki J. Konaka
Directed by Hiroshi Hamasaki
- Production sketches
Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:
- Little girl wandering the big city alone
- Murder, Inc.
Released by: Geneon
Rating: 16+ (firm)
My Advice: Get this one.
Created by the geniuses behind serial experiments lain, Hellsing, and the gorgeous and moody Haibane Renmai, the gloomy thriller Texhnolyze is a complex tale about an experimental metropolis called Lukuss, far beneath the surface of the Earth. The title of the series comes from the name of the process where human limbs are replaced with cyborg components. Lukuss is a gritty, dark place, ruled by gangs and violence, exactly the sort of place where you’d expect to find a game like the “Spectacle,” where the city’s gangs fight for dominance. Our heroes are Onish, Ran, and Ichise, who are fighting to survive the horrors of Lukuss and even more terrifying secrets they have yet to discover.
Due to some shuffling that happens with character deaths and clarified allegiances, the show is becoming much clearer and more enjoyable as things start to make sense. You realize that some of the creepiness and weirdness of the first couple of discs was not just for atmosphere and that the show really is going somewhere, though where it’s going isn’t exactly anywhere nice. The mafia-like action heats up, and you start to expect the usual trappings of that genre, like betrayals, hidden agendas, and the trafficking of controlled substances. Ran continues her Vision Quest of sorts, and more is revealed about her place in Lukuss and who (and what) she really is.
The look of the show is excellent, very dark and creepy, befitting the show itself. The colors, such as there are, are very clear and beautifully painted. While the show isn’t as visually arresting as, say, Last Exile or a Yu Watase feature, it is perfect for the show and is very artistically done. Pay attention to the edges of the screens and the large backgrounds that occur behind character action; you’ll be astonished by the detail and richness. The sound is also nice; this director knows that sometimes silence is scarier and more loaded than music or dialogue. Both language tracks are nicely produced and acted, especially the actresses who portray Ran, which is marvelous, given how important character is to the success of this show.
The extras are a bit underwhelming in their spareness, but are nicely done. We get a selection of production art, along with a few outtakes from the dubbing. It would have been nice with a series of this sort to have a look at how this series fits into the larger genre of mafia fiction or science-fiction, especially as this is such an intelligent, but not pedantic, show.
Texhnolyze is definitely not a series to start in the middle. If you haven’t seen the first two volumes yet, then go get those and then watch this one; you’ll be glad you have the whole series. If you like crime movies, psychological drama, or thrillers of any sort, you’ll enjoy this series, and if you just appreciate a richly produced and beautifully designed show, definitely check this one out. You must be able to appreciate taut characterization and story; if all you care about are explosions and noise, then this series is not for you.