Given that Serial Experiments Lain is one of my favourite anime series of all time, along with Haibane Renmai, I knew I had to see the next release by acclaimed designer Yoshi-toshi Abe. Expectantly, Texhnolyze didn’t disappoint.
It’s difficult to summarise a series that is so intricate and multilayered, both in conception and production. The ambiguity of the first four episodes is carefully considered and animately produced, leading the viewer astray through an underground city called Zukuss, an isolated void that is ruled by a mafia-like organisation known only as ORGAN. The opening episode is shown through an abstract collection of images and sounds, with minimal dialogue, while the following three episodes delve into the underground culture of Zukuss, along with the technology known as ‘Texhnolyze’, whilst finally highlighting who our main character might be. It’s important to acknowledge that Texhnolyze is, by its very nature, intellectually enlightening and original, full of obscurities and mysteries that unfold slowly but surely. Once the first four episodes had passed, what followed was a very elaborate and hugely satisfying overarching story that covered multiple themes, twists and realisations that’ll make you think even after you’ve finished watching.
The characters are realistic and tangible, given the setting of the series. The entire cast were interesting and appropriate, with the necessary charisma to lighten the mood. Shinji, Oonishi and Ichise were particularly likable characters, with their nonchalant “coolness”.
The animation is absolutely fantastic, bottom line some of the best I’ve seen. There is so much detail and artistry in every scene, it’s literally awe inspiring. Putting aside the incredibly intricate plot, watching the animation alone would suffice for this series. The terrain/backgrounds throughout are sublime. The depressingly dark cityscapes have often been used before in anime, but I’ve never seen them in the same vein as this. The character designs, likewise, are wonderfully captured and distinctive. The expressions are tangible, realistic and highly appropriate given the setting. In the more fast-paced scenes, the animation is fluid and dynamic, on par with the likes of Karas. The scenes are particularly well choreographed, with the camera angles worth acknowledging. Texhnolyze is, in essence, sheer and utter eye candy that can only be seen to be believed. The OP is from the hugely successful British electronic act, Juno Reactor, who were perhaps best known for their collaboration with music composer, Don Davis, on ‘The Matrix‘ trilogy. Comparatively with the rest of the series, the OP is an original choice (from a western act) that manages to capture the cinematic and dark setting of the series. The soundtrack is also very interesting, providing a variety of different styles that work seamlessly with their respective scenes, ranging from loud guitar solos to solemn violin and piano arrangements. The seiyuu cast manage to deliver commendable performances, despite having little room for emotion, given the context of the series. The use of silences throughout the series with the inclusion of subtle sounds has merit and is worth mentioning.
Texhnolyze is, without a doubt, an excellent anime series, that requires an equally inquisitive mind to fully appreciate its intricacies and deepening plot. I can guarantee that if you’re able to surpass the expected and to accept this series as something completely different, you’ll be rewarded with an intellectual series that delivers in all areas. The complexities and depth of the story line, coupled with its remarkable animation is precisely why I would recommend this to any serious anime watcher.