Texhnolyze Vol. #4 (of 6) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, September 08, 2006
Release Date: Monday, May 22, 2006
What They Say
The Orugano, rulers of Lukuss, start collapsing from within. The seeds of treachery implanted by the mysterious visitor blossom as suspicions disintegrate the sworn brotherhood and men, who once fought together to realize the same ambitions, pull their triggers on each other as if they were manipulated by the invisible puppe4t master! Then, mysterious cybernetic warriors in white march the streets of Lukuss, killing everybody and everything in their way. Who is behind this massacre? Is this the end of Lukuss?
Things seem to go from bad to worse for Lukuss in the fourth volume of Texhnolyze.
As with the previous I decided to stick with the English track which continues to impress me. Texhnolyze has quickly established itself as a series that is not dialogue / sound effect heavy and this decision works very well indeed and seems to convey the sense of disquiet and hesitation that the characters have far better than long monologues. Although the show is only in Stereo, the sound stage has been well thought out and both the left and right speakers are used to great effect. I spot checked the Japanese track and also noticed no problems.
Presented in anamorphic widescreen the transfer continues to look fantastic. Grain continues to be added to quite a few scenes and these come across well and add to the 'gritty' feel of the show. The series continues to be very dark with lots of shading and a lack of bright light, but the distinction between colours is never lost, and the blacks are deep and come across well. Occasionally this darkness is alternated with scenes that are suffused with light or just a totally blank white screen. Bright colours are used on occasion; especially Ran's hair and fox mask, and these really stand out against the drabness of the colours used for the majority of the show.
Subtitles are in a clear yellow font and I noticed no grammar or spelling mistakes.
No packaging was available as only a review disk was supplied.
A reasonably uninspiring menu considering how unique the show is. Initially you get a screen full of white hexagons that turn round to show the menu. Menu options are on the right hand side of the screen, while the left hand side continues with the hexagon theme and shows clips from the show. As with the majority of MVM releases only the main menu plays music from the show, with all other menus being silent. Submenu access times are quick with no fancy transitions.
Extras continue to be sparse which is a shame but not too unexpected. The only extra on this volume are the Alternate Dialogue Outtakes, for some reason this time round these were a bit grating rather than amusing and you'll not want to watch these more than once. Finally we have trailers for Samurai Champloo and Paranoia Agent.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Texhnolyze was another one of MVMs series that, unfortunately, has had a bit of a hiatus in-between volumes (7 months to be exact). I can't help but feel that with a slow burning series like Texhnolyze this has been to its detriment as it took me a little while to immerse myself back into the dark and oppressive world of Lukuss. However, once back in the swing of things the episodes on this disk really did make this reviewer glad that they don't actually live in Lukuss.
The third volume concentrated on the aftermath of Yoshii's intervention with the fragile peace that existed between the three main parties in Lukuss, the Orugano, the Salvation Union and the Racan. Yoshii's intervention led to a power struggle within the Orugano as well as skirmishes between all three parties, and while Onishi managed to hold onto his leadership of the party it was becoming clear that his hold on his position was becoming increasingly tenuous. Indeed at the end of the last disk, it's clear that his troubles within the Orugano are far from over.
What this volume of Texhnolyze does is set the scene for a bizarre chain of events that results in even the Orugano being removed from their position of power as, an as yet unseen, group decide to take control of the city. From previous volumes we've found out about the three main parties in the city, in this volume we find out about another group who are also determined to take control of the city " the Class.
Aware of his precarious position Onishi goes to visit the Sage in a small town outside of Lukuss. He wants to hear what the Seer (Ran) has seen with regard to the future of the city. What elevates Onishi above the other members of the Orugano (and even the rival groups), is his ever constant concern for the city and its citizens. In fact his assistant even remarks on a number of occasions that Onishi is able to hear the 'voice' of the city. This she puts down to the Texhnolyze legs that Onishi has had from an early age. Onishi is not the only one to receive advice from Ran " once again she reiterates her prediction for Ichise - that he will destroy everything, hurt many people and ultimately end up alone, a prediction that Ichise is certain will not come to pass.
Ichise, while as taciturn as ever, seems to have changed since becoming a member of the Orugano. He seems slightly more open with people and is quite happy to go along with Onishi's plans for him. In fact in his short membership of the group Onishi has elevated him to be almost a personal body guard / assistant with Ichise privy to many of the inner workings of the group. Onishi also seems to be far more open with Ichise than with many other members of the Orugano.
During these episodes we also get to know more about the doctor than we have done previously. She's has always seemed to be dedicated, if not consumed, by her work and the reasons for this now become clear. The doctor used to be a member of the Class, and she was hoping her advanced Texhnolyze research would let her back into their protection. She has kept the Class abreast of all her research, sending them regular papers, and has decided that now is the time to leave Lukuss and go to the Class headquarters, but she has no plans to go back alone.
As a result of the work she performed on him, Ichise is the most advanced Texhnolyze subject in the whole of Lukuss, and the doctor hopes that he is her ticket back into the Class. However, for whatever reason the Class decide that they no longer require the doctor and attempt to assassinate both her and Ichise. For the most part the doctor is unable to comprehend this turn of events, after all Ichise was her crowning achievement, but she soon realises that her future is as uncertain as that of Lukuss itself. Prior to this the doctor has always seen herself as being superior to the majority of the citizens in Lukuss, now she realises that just like them she is at the mercy of a group of people who she no longer knows.
Despite suddenly becoming the focus of a great many people, we don't really get to see much of the Class throughout these episodes. What bits we do see of them indicate that they have taken Texhnolyzation to even greater limits than the doctor ever dreamed. They also have impressive powers of manipulation, managing to make people turn against their friends and colleagues. Somehow the Class have managed to make people want to leave their respective groups, as large amounts of people leave both the Racan and the Salvation Union and turn up at the Class headquarters. In short the Class really do see themselves as the ultimate rulers of Lukuss and at the end of this disk they have managed to take over the city and their Texhnolyzed robots are patrolling the streets armed with some quite disturbing weaponry.
According to Ran, Lukuss is a city that is forever doomed to be destroyed and recreated in a never ending cycle. So far we have seen the city almost tear itself apart with internal power struggles between the three main parties and the 'spectacle' that Yoshii introduced. Now it seems that the Class have managed the ultimate coup of the city, but whether this is in order to rebuild, or continue the cycle of destruction remains to be seen. Whoever the Class are I think they want to meld the city to their own ideals, which from what I've seen so far is perhaps not a good thing.
While the previous disks of Texhnolyze have been enjoyable, I think this disk marks the turning point of the series. We are quickly coming to the point where Ran's predictions may start to come true, and the body count will, of course, continue to rise. Although this time it probably won't just be the gang members who feel the power and superiority of the Class. Texhnolyze continues to tantalise and slowly drip feed the story to the viewer, but far from being slow and boring this approach works exceedingly well within the setting, and nothing is quite what it seems to be.
While Texhnolyze has its fair share of standoff's and gunfights, its pace is surprisingly languid, but somehow it manages get quite a lot of information across. The series as a whole is actually quite immersive, and while the 7-month break made me slightly reluctant to revisit Lukuss, I soon became embroiled in everything that was happening. My initial reservations about the series are slowly fading away, to be replaced with a growing enjoyment and enthusiasm. So far Texhnolyze is a solid series, with an inventive story, gorgeous visuals and enigmatic characters and comes recommended for those people who like to experiment a bit with what they watch.
Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 2.0,English Subtitles,Alternate Dialogue Outtakes
Panasonic 42" Plasma, Arcam 88+ Prog Scan DVD Player, Kef Egg 7.1 Speaker system with a Ruark log sub. Denon 3802 amplifier.
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: A+
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: C-
Extras Rating: C-
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: MVM Entertainment
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2