Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Texhnolyze - Collector's Complete Lenticular Set|
Actors: JB Blanc, Jonas Ball, Steven Bendik, John E. Breen, Deem Bristow
Director: Hiroshi Hamazaki
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Anime & Manga, Animation
Ichise? grief only allows him to enjoy the pain of the fighting pits in the underground city of Lukuss. However, when a gang punishes Ichise by cutting his arm and leg off, his will to live overcomes the odds and attracts... more »
Walking Through the Empty Age
Suzanne | Oklahoma City, OK United States | 04/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
The underground city of Lukuss: A dark dystopian city where there is a delicate balance of peace between its three main factions. The Organo is a strong, buisiness-like corporation that manufactures the texhnolyze technology. Texhnolyze replaces lost limbs with advanced, robotic-like prosthetics that interact with a persons brain and nerves so that the person has full control over them. The Organo is run by a committe of mostly power hungry men. They're headed by the confident, quiet, but strong Onishi, who claims he can hear "the voice of The City". The Union is headed by the imposing Kimata. The Union opposes the Organo and their use of texhnolyzation on humans. The Racan is a young street gang who have yet to interfere in the fight between the Organo and the Union. Instead they have remained satisfied with dominating the other street gangs in turf wars and reigning over their piece of the city. The Racan is lead by the brash Shinji.
Outside these three main factions are four other forces that will influence the events in Texhnolyze. Ichise, a dark, mysterious loner (often referred to as a "stray dog"), is a prizefighter at night in Lukuss. Ichise has his arm and leg cut off, and is taken in by Doc - a female scientist who works for the Organo - who gives him texhnolyzed limbs. Yoshii is a man who comes from the surface world to the city of Lukuss. His initial intentions are unknown, as he simply seems to be observing the affairs in Lukuss. He meets both the Chief of Gabe and Ran, who leads him to The City. Gabe is a desolate city outside of Lukuss, where a few people still dwell. It's Chief, and the others who live there, abide by the visions that the young girl named Ran, whom they call 'The Seer" sees. They believe these are visions of an inevitable future. Beyond both Lukuss and Gabe sits the enigmatic group called The Class. Little is known about them, except they seem to prefer influencing the events in Lukuss with an invisible touch. Their ultimate goal remains a mystery.
With the three main factions inside Lukuss (The Organo, The Union, The Racan), and the four forces outside of Lukuss (Ichise, Yoshii, Ran & the people of Gabe, and The Class), the pieces of the puzzle are set. The cogs in the machine begin to turn toward a conclusion that perhaps nobody inside, or outside of Lukuss is prepared for.
Words almost fail me when trying to review Texhnolyze. Maybe I'm too used to reviewing music and film to know how to critique a work that more accurately resembles other forms of visual art. But that's what Texhnolyze is: a work of stunning visual art.
The first episode, for example, has less than 10 lines of dialogue in it. You don't hear the first word spoken until 10+ minutes in. Immediately this forces your attention to the striking visuals. When I say Texhnolyze is "visually stunning", I'm not talking about "big flashing lights with guns and robot battles and lotsa movement and slick animation". I'm talking about REAL cinematic visuals here, even though the animation itself IS strikingly beautiful. The direction throughout the series - in how every scene and shot unfolds - is incredibly meticulous. It's almost exhausting when you notice how much acute detail went into the visuals. This forces you to carefully pay attention to every shot and change to follow the visual storytelling. The visuals themselves create the dark, gritty world that is Lukuss. Lukuss almost has its own lifeforce in this series; creating an air that's completely oppressive and full of despair. The visuals mirror that in every aspect, creating a world full of somber, dusky colors that create an incredibly melancholy tone.
What will turn most casual anime fans off to this series is its pacing, as it's extremely slow. But it's elegantly slow - like a largo in a beautiful Romantic Symphony. The narrative is very methodical in how it unfolds. Many of the first several episodes serve only to introduce us to the many characters, and familiarize us with the intricate relationships within Lukuss. Because the pacing is slower than most anime series, you have to allow the hypnotic rhythm of the series to pull you in, or else many of these episodes will become boring rather than engrossing. The series really picks up about 3/4 of the way through. Those who've allowed the first 3/4 to pull them into its dark, beautiful world will be duly rewarded during the finale. Even though the pace never reaches a true boiling point, it remains carefully measured and intense throughout. It actually reminds me of The Godfather in how it's able to build suspense through intensely quiet moments. This serves to make the carefully orchestrated violence all the more effective.
The one flaw I can possibly find with the series are with its characters. Even with the wealth of time given that allows the narrative to unfold, we never really get to know any of the characters in depth. This is where I give a series such as Evangelion the edge, as it gave us an extremely deep look inside the personalities of its characters. Again, you have to pay careful attention to the visuals that will lend insight into the characters' personalities and motivations. However, its focus is more on the relationships between the characters and their part to play in the grand scheme of the narrative. Many may have trouble relating and sympathizing with the characters. This, combined with a slow pacing, will surely turn away all but the most dedicated viewers. However, if you view Texhnolyze mostly as an allegorical series, and the characters as mere extensions of that, it helps you focus on the narrative rather than the characters' personalities.
I've already mentioned that Texhnolyze is an allegorical series, but 'an allegory for what?' is the question. Texhnolyze is like many works that use a deluge of varying symbolism to tell its "story inside a story". This symbolism, like most works of art, is highly interpretable and many will have to draw their own conclusions. Analyzing the symbols while keeping in mind how they relate to the main narrative is an important process in analyzing symbolic works. Repeat viewings will also help you pick up on its more subtle aspects. I have many theories of my own, but they're too lengthy to go into here. I'll just say that you need to keep in mind that it's among the most basic, primal, human philosophical ideas driving this series: The search for meaning in life, the search for a higher state of being, the question of man's being here, and the question of what happens when we reach our evolutionary summit.
The music throughout the series is outstanding. It reminds me of Radiohead's OK Computer in its struggle between technology (electronica, trance, techno) and humanity (acoustic guitars, strings, piano). The struggle between technology and humanity in the music mirrors the same theme in the series perfectly. Overall. the application of music throughout the series is brilliant. I have to mention a few standout tracks: The beautiful closing song ("Tsuki no Uta" - Poem/Song of the Moon), and the heartbreaking finale song (Walking Through the Empty Age) are the two true standouts. The opener, Guardian Angel, is a really cool piece of techno. Two other great musical pieces are "Black Magic Mushroom (a cool, rockish guitar freakout) and Pure Edge & Sentiment (an atmospheric, building guitar piece).
I have to take time to mention the ending. So as not to give it away, I'll just say that it's one of THE most powerful endings to any work of fiction I've ever experienced. The final image will burn itself into your mind and leave an indelible mark. The series as a whole is haunting as hell, and leaves you feeling like you've really been through something afterwards. It will stay with you long after the final credits role. It's like a ghost that came into your life, said something extremely meaningful, and quietly went away, leaving only a fading memory.
Texhnolyze is simply an utterly beautiful and timeless work of art. This is a series that DEMANDS your full attention to its wondrous details. The visuals tell a story all their own, and if your mind wanders, you will miss out. This is not a series for those with short attention spans and not a series for those who need excitement in every episode. Its a long, gorgeous, mostly quiet, but very mature and complex work. To those who are willing to be sucked in by Texhnolyze's hypnotic beauty, you will be rewarded by witnessing a most profound series that is definitely one of anime's greatest achievements.
DVD & CONTENT REVIEW:
This box set is particularly outstanding. The box itself is extremely sturdy and comes with 6 standard DVD boxes which house the discs. But what makes this set so nice is the 3-D lens covers that cover both the box (all 3 sides) and all 6 of the disc cases. These 3D lenses are a really cool collector's piece, and even if you choose to take them off and put them somewhere, the art on the box and cases is still really nice.
The picture features a terrific anamorphic widescreen presentation. But sadly, only 2.0 stereo is possible in both Japanese and English. The extras are nice but scarce. There's humerous blooper-esque outtakes from the English dialogue and interviews with the Japanese creators.
I want to mention the CONTENT RATING of this series: It's rated 16+. There's some brief nudity, some sexual situations and violence. The sexual situations and violence is more implied than explicit. Both are done in minimalistic artistic ways that rely on cinematic techniques to allude to much of what is happening rather than actually showing it. However, the 16+ rating is fair. Not only from a content standpoint, but because this is a series unlikely to appeal to anyone under that age."
Work of Artistic Genius
9 2 5... | elevated plane of awareness | 01/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My old AP English teacher, Mr. McCloud, once told me that, "If you don't walk away from it changed, than it isn't art." That is one of the many purposes of art...to give the viewer an alternate perspective on a subject.
I was up late one night surfing through cable, and by fate, i happened across an episode of Texhnolyze. I used to be a fan of anime in my adolescence, but I had since grown out of it. There was something about the image in front of me that captured my attention, though. I couldn't bring myself to change the channel. The pictures were surreal and beautifully drawn. Then, I noticed the director's impeccable use of music. The music was ambient and, along with the overexposed, emotive images on screen, created an atmosphere that was at once mysterious and captivating. "This is pretty cool," I thought, so I gave the show until the commercial break.
Then, the characters on screen began fighting. This, in my opinion, is a highlight in the incredible style and art of the series. The director not only thinks of the coolest ways for someone to kill another person, but presents it in the most artistic, yet minimalist, manner. Killing is art again. (For the record, I am by no means a psychopath; everybody loves action, and the action in this anime is superb). I don't want to spoil anything, but just imagine this scene...
The sky is oppresingly white and overexposed, and the city looks dead and abandonded with a yellow sandy overtone. Onishi finds himself running down an alley while trying to escape a clash of gangs just blocks away. Around the corner, two rival gang members speed towards him on a motorcycle, brandishing sadistic looking bludgeoning tools. The following happens in one second-Onishi whips out his samurai sword, still in the scabbard, and whacks them both in the adam's apple. They each hit the ground before their blood can spill on their faces, dead before they even knew what happened to them. The scene where Onishe actually takes his sword out is mesmorizing..
In another scene, clan grunts are chasing Ichise and his boss. Ichise hides in a room and as the bad guys run past him, he kicks through the door and breaks one of their necks. The others stop and turn around, one tries to shoot Ichise but Ichise uses his robotic arm to block the bullet and in the same motion punches the dude in the face which kills him with one blow.
I just finished watching the series about an hour ago. I recommend that you take the show slowly, limiting yourself to a couple episodes a day. This way, you can think about what you saw and process your thoughts. This series, despite the violence, carries deep philosophical themes. I could try to illustrate some of these themes, but wikipedia does a much better job than i could.
The series has two main stories, one happening consecutively after the other. Both of the stories intertwine with each other while remaining unique. You must watch this show attentively, actively. It is very easy to get lost should you allow your attention to wander. The overarching story is very unusual, yet rewarding. Its themes are very easily applied to our own lives, how we live them, and the direction in which our society is headed.
This show needs to be on [adult swim]
Ronnie Clay | Winnsboro, Louisiana | 06/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To me Texhnolyze is better then Samurai Champloo and Paranoia Agent combined. Given the fact that the series comes from the creators of Lain, Hellsing, and Haibane Renmei, I went in with somewhat unfair expecatations of this to amaze me. Texhnolyze met these expectations easily and went above and beyond the level I was expecting. The world that they still exist in while still shrounded in mystery is very rich and intriguing by itself. The characters are enigmatic but their motivations are still conceivable."
Bought this one twice
Joshua J. Blair | 10/08/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What I thought was most endearing about Texhnolyze was it was realistic. It is not Naruto or Dragon ball Z where the characters have god like powers and stamina. The charecters in this series are very mortal, their were times in this series where I was shocked by how visceral the story got. By real, I would say this is unlike any anime I have ever seen, it reminds me of classic books and movies I have read, the pacing is slow, it is more of a drama anime, or one that centralizes a conflict. Like Hemmingways for whom the bell tolls or spieldburgs saving private ryan you get to see a shocking conclussion that embeds itself in your mind. In anime the closest I have seen to it in just pacing would be wolfs rain and lain. I reccomend it but only for hard core anime fans. The guys who watch anime for the eye candy and over done action probably won't like this one."