Texhnolyze Volume 2: Spectacle
By: Kimberly Godwin – Tuesday, July 13th, 2004 (04:38:57 PM)
This article was originally posted on Planet Exile.com
Lukuss is an experimental underground city ruled by gangs who fight for control. The strong show their superiority over the weak by taking their limbs because only a select few can afford to be Texhnolyzed, or rather, have their lost limbs replaced with cybernetic ones. The fate of the city lies in the hands of four unique individuals: a young clairvoyant girl, Ran; a newly Texhnolyzed pit fighter, Ichise; the successful leader of the Organo group which controls the city, Onishi; and the curious visitor from the unknown surface world, Yoshii.
In this volume of Texhnolyze, very few questions left by the previous installment are answered and a wealth of new riddles are presented. The greatest riddle of all seems to be what Yoshii is actually in Lukuss to do, and the viewer is left to draw his or her own conclusions if he really is a mere observer or something more. Aside from the new enigmas and layers of mystery surrounding Lukuss, we find that being Texhnolyzed has affected Ichise in a very bad way – he has a tendency to act out fits of violent rage under little to no provocation. Onishi is also struggling to maintain the order of the city before chaos and violence erupts between the Organo group and the Salvation Union over several unexplained incidents resulting in the deaths of several members. The secondary characters, Doc and Shinji, are becoming more than just faces in the crowd and their growing importance to the story is slowly unfolding with the growing tension and violence in the city. Shinji is the leader of a small gang that gets pulled into the fight between the Salvation Union and the Organo; while, Doc is the miracle doctor who performs the Texhnolyze operation for the wealthy and powerful in the city as well as for whomever she deems worthy for her experiments.
I am really pleased that this series is continuing to pull the viewer deeper into the world of Lukuss and the lives of four individuals who seem to be tied together by some unseen thread of fate. I like how you can feel and see the tension building through well done pacing and unique storytelling. The series is rather unpredictable and continues to stand out from other anime series out there with its enigmatic storyline, plot twists and dark compelling world with three-dimensional characters that you want to know more about.
The packaging of this DVD features a beautiful painting of Ran holding a flower with her fox mask unworn about her neck, as she looks almost forlorn at some unknown site further down the lonely street she is standing on. The building in the background is extremely detailed and is a monochromatic shade of green that make the full colored image of Ran stand out in the foreground. The artwork holds true to the maturity and complexity of the series with the proper feel of depth that many anime covers lack with their simple pin-up graphics – this cover has the feeling of a painting that you frame and hang on your wall and look at in wonder as you try to divulge a deeper meaning from it.
The DVD menu set-up holds the visual and manipulation style of a Texhnolyzed individual’s system implemented by Nightjar and backed by the driving background music featured in one of the more desperate scenes in one of the episodes which was also featured for the menu in the previous DVD’s volume. The DVD special features include an outtake dialog reel and the text-less opening animation featuring Juno Reactor’s techno track, “Guardian Angel”.
The action in this volume balances out the heavy drama and makes it easier to watch and somewhat muddle through all the riddles and information that it throws at the viewer. The visual density of the story has been toned down so that you will not miss something if you look away for a moment, but it is so interesting that you don’t want to. This is continuing to be an interesting story and I really recommend picking this volume up even if you were put off by the dark unspoken drama of the first episode in the last DVD.