Company: Madhouse Studios
Format: 22 episodes
Dates: 17 Apr 2003 – 25 Sep 2003
Synopsis: Within the city of Lux there are three main factions in power: the Organo, a criminal organization with ties to underworld business in texhnolyze (fully integrated cybernetic prosthetics); the Union, a fanatical anti-texhnolyze organization; and the Racan, a band of miscreant youths who have texhnolyzed limbs. The story begins when an orphaned prize fight named Ichise loses a couple of limbs in a conflict with an angry promoter. Later saved and given new texhnolyzed limbs by a young woman in an evolutionary experiment, Ichise is confronted with a fight for his own survival where he must discover the truth about Lux and his own destiny.
Cyberpunk: Captures the genre very well tonally; it’s both dark and gritty.
Experimental style: Minimalistic dialogue; details revealed more though action, expression, and atmosphere.
Visceral experience: Immerses the viewer very well in a dark and gritty world.
Profoundness: Both intellectually and personally effectual, rich in details to contemplate and analyze.
Big payoff: Deliberate pacing and style may deter some, but patience is greatly rewarded.
Undoubtedly experimental and unique in approach, Texhnolyze is a defining example of what comes closest to art in anime form. As typical of very artsy stuff, this anime will certainly not be for everyone. Those not comfortable with ideas like minimalistic dialogue or very deliberately slow and methodical pacing would most likely do best to avoid this title. However, with a little due patience and some effort, Texhnolyze proves a very rewarding experience.
Many defining aspects of Texhnolyze are apparent in the first few episodes alone; this story rather than driven by any sort of extended dialogues is communicated mostly through expressions, actions, and atmosphere. Considering that writer Konaka Chiaki is behind this anime, this should come as no surprise, since this show shares many of the same eccentricities present in his previous work, Serial Experiments Lain. And just like Lain did in many ways, Texhnolyze encapsulates almost everything there is to the cyberpunk genre whether it be the negative impact of technology on mankind, the existence of an ever powerful entity that directly manipulates and controls society, the fusion of man with machine, and more.
Most importantly though, Texhnolyze manages to take these concepts and extend them to its own cohesive narrative. It operates on some of the most basic philosophical questions around existentialism including, but not limited to, man’s pursuit of a state of higher being, the search for meaning in life, and what happens when we arrive at the plateau of human evolutionary progression. Integral to these concepts in the story is the technology of texhnolyze, fully integrated cybernetic prosthetics from which the show derives its name from. It is sought after by several people as a means to propel evolution as mankind’s steps toward progression have seemingly stagnated and with it has ushered in an era of complete hopelessness.
I have given much attention to the show’s meaning as I personally found to it be very interesting, but also because Texhnolyze rather than the tale of any one character really is the tale of an entire city, Lux. The perspective of the show mainly comes from the character Ichise, but any questions on philosophy or morality presented are left entirely to the audience. It is almost as if the audience’s perspective is that of the city itself rather than any one person, with the characters merely playing their roles in the chaotic events that come to pass throughout the show. It almost feels allegoric in presentation.
Still while the story is steeped in several contemplative, intellectual topics, Texhnolyze works amazingly well as a visceral experience by immersing the viewer in the world of the city of Lux. Accentuated by by its wonderfully dark and gritty visuals, it manages to convey throughout a sense of utter despair that weighs down on the entire world, and only through the most brutal, primal instincts does a sense of life exude from its citizens. The involving experience makes the show’s ending particularly powerful. Rather than through any sort of tear jerking moment, Texhnolyze manages to leave an indelible mark of haunting emptiness. There’s a deep sadness, a great anger, but is there anybody to hear our voice?
For a series that is so rich in detail and manage to strike such emotions, I really cannot help but call this strange experiment a glowing success.
The Rating: 9
Reviewed by: Reckoner