Texhnolyze Vol. #6 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Texhnolyze

Texhnolyze Vol. #6

By Chris Beveridge     February 19, 2005
Release Date: February 22, 2005

Texhnolyze Vol. #6
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.

What They Say
Those who yield to madness and those who fight against it; those who end their lives, as if there's no escaping it; Men who carried on their own way of life lived in Lukuss, a place where death and serenity ruled. The king of the new world took his throne, and the girl, who was tossed about by fate, ended her mission. Was there a reason for the battle fought by these men of honor? A horrible demise approaches.

The Review!
With the final three episodes, everything is slowly spelled out and the series draws to the only kind of conclusion possible given what's come before.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series is filled with a lot of very low voices talking and little background noise for the most part. The feel of the city is given to that of a morgue at times so the lack of sound in a lot of scenes is very distinct. When we do get sound though, it's very clear and problem free. We didn't notice any dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally airing in 2003, the transfer here is anamorphic enhanced for playback on widescreen sets. With this series being so richly animated, so many scenes and backgrounds look like captures of real life or just pieces of stunning art. The widescreen transfer here looks fantastic. There are so many details put into each and every shot that they're brought so vividly to life here, you can spend an inordinate amount of time simply looking at everything before taking in any of the story. The color palette is pretty dark and earthy, though there are some truly vibrant moments slipped in as well. The darks hold up beautifully and solid and the varying levels of darkness are displayed perfectly. Visually, this is a show that you can lose yourself in quickly and easily.

Utilizing the Japanese artwork, Ran without her mask take provide one of the few almost-action oriented covers of the series. The look and feel of this with the green tint is almost lifelike for the backgrounds, giving it a very dark and creepy feel. The back cover provides a few shots from the show and gives a summary of the basic premise and the characters. The discs features and extras are clearly listed and space given over to bilingual production credits. Geneon has adopted part of the info box style that we like, though I hope it's something that becomes more common. The insert has a cleaner version of the front cover on one side while the other lists the chapter marks for the three episodes.

Using the visual style of the Texhnolyze control system that people see through their eyes to manipulate their bodies, Nightjar has nicely adapted that to the menu layout here, sliding the selections into various areas while setting it all to a smooth enjoyable piece of instrumental music. The layout is nicely done, though it may take a second to find the actual selection pieces among all the text and images, but it's very nicely in-theme for the series. Access times are nice and fast even with a very brief transitional animation.

The extras drop the production gallery again and go for an extended session of alternate scripted outtakes. For the last volume, the outtakes run just about fourteen minutes or so and once again, while some of it does go long and some areas are stretched so that the gag can fit in with the regular material, there are a number of good sequences in here. This show really demanded some light material be provided somewhere and these alternate takes definitely helped to show some of the humor in one of the bleakest of shows. The series ending sequence is also provided in two forms, one in a textless and one with the original Japanese credits, which is a nice inclusion.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
For about a year now, having received the first volume of this series earlier than its actual release, we've been following in detail the lives of a varied group of people living in an underground city called Lukuss as well as those in the surrounding area, such as we learned of Gabe and then of the Class in their seemingly perfect realm. Bringing in various things such as the group that protects Ran the Seer and then seeing exactly what's become of the surface world, Texhnolyze has presented itself as a show with wild extremes but very distinct extremes.

Right from the start, the series went to show that it has plenty of style to it, though it offended many for a number of reasons, but that opening episode captivated me and has held me throughout the show. As it seemingly wandered through its storyline, particularly with a lead character who barely talks, it let the atmosphere of things and the city itself speak clearly for Ichise. He's been born as a product of the environment and the two are linked completely. Through his wanderings, both wounded and then as a texhnolyzed being, we see what is the end result of whatever kind of experiment or project was going on. Humanity, texhnolyzed, was simply not the next evolution of humanity that it was presumed some were hoping.

The eventual trip to the surface world revealed the same as what we had below but instead of the struggle to live while things were at their bleakest, we found a world where humanity had given up completely and surrendered to their eventual extinction. Those whose hearts would not go along were sent deep underground, possibly with the secret hope of their finding a way to avoid the extinction, but otherwise they had chosen to co-exist peacefully with the world and allow nature to takes it course as the race is brought back into the Earth itself. For Ichise, this becomes a place where he can find some peace but he needs to ensure that someone else shares it with him. For Doc, she finds that she's been wrong about everything all along and succumbs to the same kind of fatalism as those here and fades into the woodwork.

Ichise's return to Lukuss to find Ran so that he can bring her to a place where there is no killing and you can live without being hunted takes him across many of the familiar locations from throughout the series. He becomes witness to the expedited death throes of the underworld experiment as insanity has taken over those who are texhnolyzed as their limbs no longer work. Kano's army in particular is intriguing as their bodies are stuck in place now, but their heads speak of how this is a wondrous new thing and their path to peace has never been clearer. Those who are still fully human see this as a time of revenge and the insanity is allowed to grow clearly in their minds and souls, but a few people are left who are trying to finish what's always driven them, like Ichise. Like Onishi. Like Shinji. And even Ran if you really look at what's happened all around.

The finale for the series plays out much as the rest of it did, alternating between moments of bloody viciousness and cruelty as well as intriguing and disturbing peaceful moments of beauty. With the way this has all been done, it can end only as it does and it's not with a bang but with a whimper. The slow drawing of the curtains to the song by Yoko Ishida has in turn made this one of the most memorable endings for me out of a lot of series that I've seen in the past twenty years. This is a series that was made in a market that wouldn't support such things; dark locales, unattractive men and women, no school girls, no cute mascots, no blue skies for the bulk of it. It simply goes against everything that any series uses as a selling point to advertisers these days. While it may not have been a huge success, it has been a series that has reminded me much of how anime used to be when more chances were taken, when characters could actually die and when it was dominated by the need for a bouncy girl to be so prominently figured. It's a series that appeals immensely to a side of me that's not fed as regularly by anime anymore.

In Summary:
With the finale to the series, it's something that people are going to probably take different things from but it's something that I think will in some way stick with the viewer for some time, much as that half episodes of pure silence at the start of the series. The two are book-ended nicely in a way with the near five-minute end sequence here. Texhnolyze has been a series that has stood out among the waves of other shows that are all so blindingly similar and interchangeable these days due to its design and intent but also for avoiding so many things that are seemingly required to be aired right now. The people behind this show that funded it and stood behind it, which includes Geneon Entertainment USA, have my thanks for doing just that and reaffirms my belief that the US companies getting involved in anime productions will for the most part continue to be a positive thing. The chances of this series even existing without their help is probably pretty minimal.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Alternate Outtakes,Japanese Series Ending,Textless Series Ending

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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