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The fall and resurrection of a "mere dog"
on June 4, 2011
I picked up Texhnolyze without knowing the first thing about the series. It has a very techno (imagine that), futuristic theme, and if you've watched Lain it includes some of that surreal mixed media effect but to even better result in my opinion. As opposed to the standard introduction to a show where the opening theme is a song showing all the characters and usually accompanied by karaoke Texhnolyze starts out with music, no lyrics. The ending theme is on par with what we've come to expect, a moody acoustic sequence. The two musical styles harmonize each other, moving together in a strange symbiosis through the show. It might seem odd to say such a thing about a soundtrack, but this show makes everything go together and every facet is important.
Extras included on disc one are: an interview with Ueda and Yoshitoshi Abe, alternate dialog outtakes, previews (they mercifully skip them at the start of the DVD but if you want them they are there), and credits for the show.
The show starts off in a dank and dirty place, it appears to be a decrepit locker room complete with dingy mirror, tiled shower stalls, flickering lights, and a clicking fan. Our silent and slightly bloodied main character is reliving a boxing match, the scenes are granulated like a bad television signal. From there we move on to another scene, a strange woman with him, and then another. The show has little dialog in the opening, it relies on you carefully watching the myriad presented to you so that you can understand what is going on.
Of course as soon as you think you know what's going on something changes, we're left wondering what's reality and what's going on between the few characters already introduced. It's as if the viewer is being dumped straight into the disparate parts of each persons day and yet some of it, maybe all of it, is just a dream. The colors of every different moment are highly saturated, and it's clear we're in a futuristic society where our interactions with the world overlap with another, digital / mystical layer to existence.
I was struck by how stark the world is, the silence, the lack of animals (minus a lizard seen in the first episode), the missing grass and trees, the decay of buildings, roads; seemingly all of our world. It's so empty and painfully lonely. It's really no wonder that they cannot bring themselves to speak much of the time. Even in the cities people are quiet, detached, as if they are trying to simply get by. What words are there in a place so desolate? When characters do immerse in dialog it's been clearly well thought out by the director, just enough to explain and confuse what's going on at that particular moment.
By the end of the first disc we are made to understand that there is a Salvation Union, Raffia, Organo, a Sage of Gabe, a surface, and an "underworld". We know that we are in Lukuss. Dialog increases but the show is still heavily dependant on visuals. We know what it means, at least a little, to be Texhnolyzed. What precisely all of that solves, means, and teaches us remains unclear the more we learn. There's a sort of intrinsic beauty to that, it leaves us wanting more, and as confused and unsure as the characters each holding a piece of the puzzle but unable to put together the complete picture.
This is a great start to a series, a lush and well drawn foray into a world we're just beginning to grasp and the politics and people of the time. It isn't for children, while it doesn't have excessive violence, it isn't sensationalized in battle sequences when it occurs. There's a cold brutality and chilly compassion involved in the episodes that start the show. If you're a fan of the surreal and technological, pick it up and have a go.