Secret Santa Project Review: Texhnolyze, What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.

The roulette wheel of fortune is a fickle beast. It can choose to see you go home a winner or it can clean you out without remorse. We had to choose between Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase, Millennium Actress, and Texhnolyze. There was no force on Earth that was going to make Narutaki casually watch Moon Phase; Millennium Actress was a solid choice but we had seen enough Satoshi Kon to easily assume we’d like it so it would have been against the spirit of the project. We gambled on the generally unknown: Texhnolyze. I myself had avoided it because I had heard it was relentlessly grim and obtuse by design which are two things I generally do not care for. We would both learn that my guesses on what this show would be like was all too correct.

To fully embrace the project, I felt Texhnolyze was the only option. I had literally never even heard of the show before and thus I went in with no expectations, no prejudice, and no idea what was going on. This actually became a running theme of the series, the “not knowing what was going on” part that is. Most of Texhnolyze in fact remains an enigma to me even after watching the whole thing and writing this now. But then again, I have no real desire to discover its secrets after all this. In fact, the only thing I can say for sure that was good about this show was that a Gackt song was used for the ending theme!

In the city of Lux, Ichise is a prize fighter until one day he angers someone enough to have them cut of one of his arms and one of his legs off leaving him to die in the street. When he is found struggling to live by a woman name Doc he is given cybernetic limbs. He does not accept his new limbs at first but as tensions in Lux grow to a frenzied pitch he soon finds himself involved in a apocalyptic prophecy only truly known to a young girl named Ran who he seems linked with. I think that is what it is about but I would hardly bet money on that fact. I don’t mind being dropped into a strange world and then slowly learning about it but Texhnolyze takes it too far by not giving me enough pieces of the puzzle. Shows like Haibane Renmei and Xam’d:Lost Memories do similar things but they give you enough information about the main story that you feel you understand what happened but still leave the impression the world still has many secrets it never revealed.

He was a prize fighter!? I just thought he was some schmuck they threw in the ring to get beat on. The first episode has almost no talking so you are left to interpret what is going on, and though the talking increases in further episodes, the requirement to figure out what was going on with little explanation stays the same. I believe in storytelling that “shows not tells” but this was too extreme. Heck, it’s not even clear the city is underground till episode 20. But despite that, the setting is where I would give the most praise for Texhnolyze. It was fully realized and quickly established as a city full of people vying for power and survival, an overall quite unhappy place.

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