On Aug. 28, 2012 FUNimation Entertainment releases the cyberpunk anime series “Texhnolyze” on DVD as part of their “Anime Classics” line and we took the opportunity to review this Madhouse produced drama.
Some spoilers ahead
Set in the underground city of Lux, “Texhnolyze” follows the journey of Ichise, a prize fighter who runs afoul of his boss and finds himself losing a leg and an arm as punishment. Left for dead Ichise is found by Eriko, a woman known as “Doc”, who fits him with prosthetic limbs called “Texhnolyze”. Angry at the thought of his new limbs, or himself, Ichise begins to bash them against anything he can until Doc tells him that she used his deceased mother’s remaining cells, which Ichise carries with him, to help form the bond between the Texhnolyze and his body. This forces Ichise to stop trying to destroy the new limbs.
As he adjusts to his Texhnolyze Ichise is followed by a young girl named Ran, who has the ability to see into people’s future and serves as the seer for the city of Gabe. While wandering the city with no real goal Ichise is eventually drawn into a conflict between the Organo, the powerful organization that governs Lux, the Union, an anti-Texhnolyze group and the Rakan, a small gang-like group that is slowly gaining power with the youth of the city.
The conflict breaks out after a visitor from the surface world arrives in Lux and begins a plan that threatens to throw the city into chaos. After thwarting his plan though Ichise begins to work under Onishi, the head of the Organo. The fight picks right back up not long after however when the Class, a group of beings considered the chosen who rule over Lux from “The Hill”, and their fanatical leader come to the decision that it would be best if the residents of the city came under their direct rule. As you might expect this idea doesn’t sit well with the three major factions and their respective leaders.
To avoid giving away even more of the story this is where I will stop discussing key points in the series.
“Texhnolyze” actually has a lot of potential with an interesting story concept and a unique world filled with likeable characters and crazy enemies. The problem however is that the story develops painfully slow, early on nothing is really happening as Ichise just wanders and he doesn’t even begin to develop as a character until much later. There are some points that also seem to happen out of nowhere without any real development, which does cause a bit of confusion.
Ichise himself really isn’t a likable character either, he really lacks a personality and even after you learn more about him he still never really becomes someone that you want to see be the hero, that role felt more like it could have belonged to Onishi or Shinji. Ran, who also plays a big role, is a lot like Ichise and between the two of them they just don’t have the appeal to make the series as interesting as it could be.
Visually “Texhnolyze” has a nice look to it, the picture quality is usually clear and there is a lot of detail but it also switches to grainy and dark to help match the atmosphere at times. The characters all have good looks to them as well, the “Texhnolyze” limbs don’t look too science fiction-like and though they are advanced technology the designs still manage to look like something that a struggling city’s scientists could create. The Class have the most insane designs as far as the series goes and while they are definitely out of place they make for a great, easy to distinguish enemy.
The Japanese voice cast fit very well with their characters and seemed to get across the emotions well while also matching up with their character’s personalities. The English cast was decent but it just felt really bland, much like “Boogiepop Phantom”, which may be due to them both being older titles. If you’re going to watch the series then the Japanese dub is probably the best choice. The subtitles were all clear and easy to read while also remaining on screen for a fair length of time.
All-in-all “Texhnolyze” is a mature dramatic anime offering a deep story that feels like a 90s era series. The story does develop slowly but once things get going it gets good until the final few episodes, when things get a little weird. It almost felt like M. Night Shyamalan was helping write the ending with the head shaking plot twists.
If you enjoyed anime like “Boogiepop Phantom”, “Ergo Proxy” and “Serial Experiments Lain” then you may be interested in picking up “Texhnolyze”.
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Runtime: 550 minutes
Number of Discs: 4 DVDs
Number of Episodes: 22
Languages: English, Japanese with English subtitles
Age Rating: TV-MA
Release Date: Aug. 28, 2012
(A review copy of “Texhnolyze” on DVD was provided by FUNimation Entertainment.)