Texhnolyze is a very dark yet utterly fascinating anime. It is filled with lots of violence, gloom, double-crossing, death, misery, and despair. There is no other fine embodiment to the shattering melancholy and bracing affirmation of hopelessness.
Set in a man-made underground city of Lux. This crumbled city is considered having a mind and will of its own. The city and the citizens are truly the main characters of this very anime. The residents are witnessing an ongoing war between 3 rivals named as Organo, the Salvation union, and Racan for territorial control of the city.
At the center of this plot, there is a prizefighter, Ichise and he must uncover the truth about this city’s future and fight for his survival as he realizes his destiny. This war will determine the future of technology and how mankind intersects with technology. He used to be a boxer but was rescued from the brink of death by a woman named Eriko. In exchange for his life, she installed prosthetic limbs to replace the old ones after they were cut by his former promoters. This replacement, him being used as a guinea pig, will it help Texhnolyze technology to get back in the game, is this his destiny or there is another side to this story?
It is an experimental, cyberpunk, dystopian, philosophical, apocalyptic anime thing that chooses to focus on the dark side of humans as species. Texhnolyze asks objective of morality, people seem to have this desire to feel special and to have a purpose, but what if there isn’t one? Will the world cease to exist one day and then what proof of existence do we really have? What makes the moments on this earth worthwhile and if there is no point how could we go on living without feeling self-destructive.
The darkness in the story is understandable as it comes from the creators of Serial experiments lain. It in itself is a package full of analysis of actual human conditions.
It has a slow, methodical pace complemented with contemplative cyberpunk visuals. The unsettling feeling carried along with the use of color ranging between as far as nearly black or white, the grim scenes are covered with almost brown, grey, green film giving it a dirty haze look and lending to the grounded feeling of the show. Lux looks suitably dirty and downtrodden with this color palette and the occasional use of overexposed scenes gives it a menacing look.
Texhnolyze is an anime that doesn’t really care too much for words and often prefers to let its image do the talking initially this might appear indecipherable and unfriendly but soon it works in the favor of anime. Actually, in the first half where the focus is on humans as a species, the series is sparred with the use of speech, but in the second half, the focus shifts towards Ichise and other characters the amount of dialogue rises subsequently. The anime is full of implications, expressions, body language, and symbolism.
The show’s unique tone and setting captivate the viewers and they are left completely immersed in the gritty experience of Texhnolyze. Despite the animation looking fairly dated at times, the stylized aesthetics and unique direction help hold its own character even today.
The character designing done by the legendary Yoshitoshi Abe (Serial Experiment Lain, Haibane Renmei, and NieA_7) makes these realistic character designs to accompany the grounded setting of the anime. The actual beauty of cinematography lies in the anime itself.