Should I turn up the brightness?
Can't-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face dark. When not dark, Texhnolyze is the utter opposite: A blinding, stark, artificial light glares over the city in an achromatic white. Whether with darkness or brightness, this underground city - and its characters and stories therein - are flooded in fascinating mystery, ambiguity, and political intrigue.
Texhnolyze takes itself very seriously. There are few moments of levity or humour and, if Hell is to be described as a place underground, then the city of Lux is it.
This is not to say that Texhnolyze is without tenderness, friendship and love; but these moments are still surrounded by the sullen atmosphere of Lux. There are certainly few laughs to be had. Texhnolyze's despairing setting and characters are seizing.
Texhnolyze is slow-paced, brooding, hypnotic, intelligent, political, and I LOVE IT!
Having your limbs cut off HUURRRTTSSS!!!
[There are no spoilers, outside of briefly describing the first episode
, a boxer, emerges from the darkness and is offered money in exchange for sexual favours by a lascivious woman. After the woman goes too far in her love-making, Ichise strikes her with a boxer's hook. In retaliation for her abuse the woman uses her connections with the city's mafia organization, the Organo, to have Ichise punished. The severing of limbs has become the all-too-common form of punishment in the city of Lux and Ichise is no exception, who has both an arm and a leg brutally severed with a samurai sword; drawing parallels with the real-life activities of the Yakuza
The first episode is remarkable in that, save for two brief sentences midway, it contains almost no dialogue. Everything of the plot I have told you thus far is insinuated or acted-out in the first episode and not outrightly spoken. The wanton woman, for example, does not say what her motives are but, by showing her dangle the bill over Ichise's shoulder and pulling it away when he reaches for it, the anime shows
us what her motives are. This is a perfect example of what the creators do so well throughout the series. Texhnolyze rarely tells you how things are, how things came to be, the motives behind a character, etc. It shows
us. Texhnolyze is not very literal; it largely tells its story visually. There are few scenes that are striclty expository, unless necessarily so.
There are several groups in Lux. A religious group, a mafia group, a group of anarchist youth, etc. At the beginning of the seires you are introduced to a few of these groups, and you come to know the others as the series continues. Rather than explain them all, suffice it to say that this anime has a great variety of differing political affiliations and it is engrossing to learn about them and see how they conflict with eachother. As one of the characters explains early in the series: if you aren't a part of something than you are nothing.
Some points worth mentioning without going into detail: The soundtrack; featuring incredible ambient and atmospheric songs from a variety of artists that perfectly match the feel of the series. There is also the DVD collection and its packaging, with each volume coming packaged with a lenticular image and some hilarious outtakes with the English dub actors. Since the anime is a few years old now, you can buy the entire series for less than $50 dollars brand new. Given the dark nature of the series I strongly suggest television capable of displaying a higher-than-normal contrast ratio; the DVD collection on an HD screen is certainly the way to go. In terms of atmosphere, Texhonlyze is comparable to David Fincher films like Se7en and Alien 3; a movie like Bladerunner also comes to mind.
Texhnolyze rates as one of my favourite animes. Its quality is pervasive throughout and, if you haven't seen it already, you would be amiss to skip this one.