Ichise’s grief only allows him to enjoy the pain of the fighting pits in the underground city of Lukuss. However, when a gang punishes Ichise by cutting his arm and leg off, his will to live overcomes the odds and attracts the attention of the ruling Organo syndicate that controls the cybernetic Texhnolyze technology that they usually reserve for the elite. Meanwhile, an outsider has come down to the city, along with a young psychic girl, the dominos are beginning to fall in the seething unrest of the city as their paths slowly intertwine with Ichise’s.

From the fame work of character designer Yoshitoshi Abe (Haibane-Renmei, NieA_7) reunites with producer Yasuyuki Ueda (Serial experiments lain) and script writer Chiaki J. Konaka (Serial experiments lain, Hellsing) comes a new hard boiled style of science fiction animation. An adventure in a dark dystopian world that reveals the depth of human nature and heights of technological achievements.

The first DVD contains four episodes:

Rouge 01: Stranger – A mysterious man enters into the city of Lukuss. Ichise a prize fighter battles to keep alive and to run from those he has crossed.

Rouge 02: Forfeiture – After crossing those in the underground belly of the crime world Ichise, forfeits his limbs and maybe his life.

Rouge 03: Texhnophile – Ichise has awoken from the nightmare of his assault, surviving all the odds, but who is this strange doctor? What does she want with him? The mystery deepens involving Yoshii, who is he? What does he want with Ran?

Rouge 04: Synapse – Will Ichise be able to adapt to his new texhnolyze body. Will he find revenge against those that tried to murder him.

After watching the first DVD, I was left with mix feelings. The theme of Texhnolyze reminds me my experience with Serial Experiment Lain series. Its series with a blend of sometimes confusing and mixed messages, where within the episodes of the series there are hidden messages and meanings. I found the first episode almost difficult to follow, it didn’t unveil much of the story directly, we learn that Ichise is a fighter that is seduced by a women that is linked to the organized crime ring that hold a death grip on Lukuss. The story and locations within the first seems to change quite rapidly.As the story advances, the random jumping of the story slows and we become more aware of who the characters are and their significance within the story.

Ichise: he’s a prize fighter on the run for crossing the wrong people.

Ran: A young girl who has the power to see 1 possible outline of the future.

Onishi: The gang leader who struggles to maintain his power over the city.

Yoshii: He is a mysterious man, a visitor from the surface world with his own agenda.

Characters and setting development aside, the story for Texnolyze rotates around the idea that a particular group of people that have the money and power can have damaged biological limbs replaced with a cybernetic artificial augmentation that allows them to lead normal lives. However, some resist the idea of technology and biology merging.

The DVD includes Anamorphic wide screen with a 16x9 aspect ratio, the quality of the video is nothing short of amazing, even if the plot is a slightly difficult to follow. With a merging of it’s own in the video between CGI and traditional cell animation is almost seamless. They complement each other beautifully, compared to other anime series where the CGI seems to take away and not give back. As for the audio, this DVD features Bilingual audio with English and Japanese 2.0 and with English subtitles.

What additional features does the DVD have to offer? Some of the additional features include an interactive motion menu. It is a similar display as to what those who have been texhnolyzed would experience. The special features include an Interview with Yoshitoshi Abe and Yasuyuki Ueda. The interview involves the creatures answering questions concerning, the inspiration behind Texhnolyzed, character design and inspiration, what theme is trying to be communicated from texhnolyze. Also, alternative Dialog Outtakes, some humorous outtakes from the voice actors, who just had too much fun with these series.

By far one of the best features of this series has to be the opening scene. Albeit a short opening the theme music is a powerful mixture of trance and heavy metal. The music definitely brings power to the series. The video for the opening shows a cross section of what life is for those who live in the city of Lukuss, a sort of fight to survive society where collapse could happen at anytime.

After viewing the first DVD for this series, I’m still left with mixed messages. A series with a dark view, with often confusing metaphors buried within each episode. Similar to Serial Experiment Lain, Texhnolyze is a series that will take time to grow on me, definitely will have to watch it a few times over to get a deep understanding of it. However, if you were a big fan of Serial Experiment Lain and similar anime series, then this is a definite view for you. I do look forward to additional features in future disks, such as conceptual art work or interviews with the voice actors.

Animation: 8 / 10
Story: 7 / 10
Audio: 8 / 10
Video: 9 / 10
Extras: 6 / 10
Impact Rating: 6 / 10

Overall rating 44/60 or 73%

By Matt Capranos

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