Texhnolyze Vol. #5 (of 6) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, September 11, 2006
Release Date: Monday, July 10, 2006
What They Say
LUKUSS: the city of despair and violence...
An experimental metropolis buried deep inside the Earth, ruled by gangs, where mayhem and retribution are a normal part of life...
To show your strength, you must deprive your opponents of their limbs.
TEXNOLYZE: a highly developed technology whereby human limbs are replaced with powerful cybernetics.
The gate to the future has just been opened...
The shapes, the cybernetic warriors in white, wipe out what's left of Lukuss, with overwhelming numbers and the superior firepower of their futuristic weapons. Ran foresees a future of Lukuss that she cannot bear and boards a train to escape. Onishi entrusts to future of Lukuss of Ichise and tells him to travel up to the unknown world of the Class. Does the surface world offer salvation for the survivors of Lukuss?: Is there any hope?
As with the previous volumes 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.
Once again the only extra we get are the Alternate Dialogue Outtakes. These seem to get longer and longer with each volume, but unfortunately the humour seems to get worse and worse, and I'm just not finding these funny any more. The trailers on the disk are for Tsukihime and Haibane Renmei.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
We're on the home stretch of Texhnolyze and as this is the penultimate volume, as such I was hoping that things might start to come together around now, but instead of hinting at a resolution we just get more exposition. This isn't a bad thing but by this point we should have a reasonable grasp on things to enable the writers to start bringing things to a close.
The Class have now taken over Lukuss, with their robots (Shapes) patrolling the streets to make sure that people do not start to oppose the new rule. The Class have probably slightly underestimated the citizens of Lukuss and their rival gangs as well. Far from going along with the flow, the remaining members of the Orugano and the Salvation Union join together to try and fight the Shapes. Right from the start Texhnolyze has never shied away from depicting violence, but this volume takes the body count to a whole new level as people are cut down left right and centre. The fights against the Shapes are brutal and surprisingly bloody considering the hi-tech weaponry used by the robots. In his last stand, the leader of the Salvation Union, actually manages to destroy some of these faceless robots, before meeting a particularly unpleasant end.
The Shapes are quite formidable opponents, not only do they carry highly destructive weapons but they also seem to have few weak points that an opponent can take advantage of. When we do eventually find out what their weak spot is, we are treated to some truly haunting imagery. The Shapes are fully texhnolyzed people, and the only thing remaining of their body is the head which is attached to the rest of the robot. It's quite horrific to think that a leader can mutilate his followers in such a way just to make them more powerful, but then we were aware that the Class had taken Technolyzation to a whole new level.
Many of the Shapes are also the old members of the Racan and Salvation Union who went over to the Class in the last volume. The thought that these people had been manipulated so thoroughly to first go to the Class, and then made to give their bodies up, showed the total disregard the leader of the Class really does have for Lukuss and its citizens. Although saying that, there are a couple of 'you got what you asked for' moments when you find out who some of the Shapes are and it's quite fulfilling to find out that some of the less likeable characters have been transformed into the fighting force of the Class.
While all this mayhem is going on in the streets, with clashes of Shapes and citizens, we find out that the leader of the Class " Kano " actually knew Onishi when they were younger. In a sense they are both similar in their ambitions, both want to rule Lukuss, but where Onishi has some compassion for the city, Kano is the exact opposite. He also has plans to use his army of Shapes to take over the world above as well as Lukuss. Given what we find out about Kano and his lack of compassion for almost everyone he comes across, it seems strange that, for the time being at least, he is sparing the women and children of Lukuss. Is this really a humanitarian act (something I'm not sure I believe seeing as he was quite happy to try and kill the doctor) or does he have something else in mind for them?
Kano is determined to find and destroy Onishi, as it seems Onishi is one of the few people in the city who could potentially be a threat to Kano. The other person is of course, Ran, and she's also heading for Lukuss after 'seeing' what is occurring in the city. Somehow Onishi is aware of the plans Kano has for the surface world and he sends Ichise and the doctor to the surface to warn them of the possible invasion. This trip to the surface is quite hypnotic to watch, and after the brutality and cacophony of the battles, Texhnolyze reverts back to quiet introspection.
Upon their arrival at the surface, Ichise and the doctor are assailed by colour, from the blue of the sky to the greens and gold's of the surrounding countryside. After becoming so used to the dull and earthy colours of Lukuss, to see the picture suddenly suffused with colour is quite affecting, and not only is there colour everywhere but there are also the signs of life, the calls of birds and insects and the rustle of wind, things that just aren't present in Lukuss. The contrast between the two worlds is vast, with the surface world seemingly under populated unlike Lukuss.
The doctor and Ichise find the government offices taken there by their guide " an old friend of Yoshii's whose made the journey to the surface on many occasions. Here they hope to find someone they can talk to about the threat from the Class, but it seems like their warnings are not to be headed.
The 5th volume of Texhnolyze is short, with only 3 episodes, but there is lots going on, from the battles between the citizens and the Shapes, to the journey to the surface and Ran's arrival in the city. We are also shown glimpses of why Lukuss came into being and how it was populated, which could go some way to explaining how the situation with the city has come about. Far from starting to tie things up, Texhnolyze has added yet more strands to the story, which makes me wonder if this series will have anything approaching a satisfying ending.
Texhnolyze gets stranger with every volume, although this volume has to be the one that adds the most sci-fi elements to the mix. Until now things have been firmly centred on Lukuss and the infighting going on there, now we've seen the surface world I'm sure that it's going to have some impact on the future of Lukuss. As the series progresses, though, we are coming closer and closer to getting something similar to the mind warping ending of Serial Experiments Lain. This would not be a good thing as it has the potential to distract from the story so far. Hopefully the series will end on a strong note, and even if things are not totally tied up it will be nice to see whether Lukuss has future or not.
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: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2