Volume 4 - Suspicions

Starring (voice): Akira Haga, Shizuka Itou and Hiroshi Tsuchida
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 08 May 2006

Texhnolyze is the dark process where humans and machines have started to merge. In the buried city of Lux life is an endless nightmare. Entropy has gone mad and both the city and its people are in a slow state of decay. What little there is in the way of power and control is wielded by the various feuding mafia clans. Lux is the city where the frightening present clashes with an even more frightening future...

Well, we're off on volume four of Texhnolyze (2003), directed by Hiroshi Hamasaki from Madhouse Productions and another four incomprehensible rouges (episodes) to watch, stretching from episode thirteen to sixteen. At times this show appears to be more about style than content; however, there is always something intriguing going on to drag your attention back.

It remains a dark and dystopian tale of people who are unsettled and unsure about the technological changes that are happening in their world. Though the show features plenty of violence it's really about more philosophical choices faced by people in a time of change. Change brings anxiety and there's plenty of that, in the city, to go around. The show has an overall dreamlike quality; it's like voyeuristically peeking into someone else's dark subconscious. I've not seen the end of the series but I'm pretty sure at this point that the makers are letting their Freudian slip show.

With the events set in place by the stranger in Volume 3 things are starting to fall apart for the Organo clan, as they start to turn against each other, a violent feud erupts.

In Vista, Ichise and Oonishi are off to Gabe as Oonishi wants do consult one of the elders. Well, this was another weird episode. Ichise is confronted by Ran who tells him that before the end he will destroy everything and end his days alone. One of the Organo turns traitor and tries to kill them both. Nothing really much happens in the episode but it's very heavy with exposition from the Elder, which kind of drops a clue that you should really be listening to what he is saying as he's obviously laying out how the series ends.

In Rejection Ichise returns to the city haunted by the seer's look into his future. Meanwhile the Doc has spotted some guys loading spare mechanical parts on a truck, does this have anything to do with the wave of murders across the city? When Ichise goes to see her to get his hand fixed she enigmatically mentions that he is the most advanced human being and that when 'they' see him they will know what to do with their technology. Doc attempts to with leave the city with Ichise, but is thwarted and she is attacked and all her research data is lost. So, what does the Doc really know? Whatever it is she seems to know as much as Ran, but as they both insist in speaking in riddles, and Ichise never gets around to asking anyone what the hell they are talking about, your guess is as good as mine - though I do have a theory where this is going. I was looking at the character design more closely and for a show that seems to have cost so much a lot of the faces have a distinct lack of features like when you see someone out of the corner of your eye or in a dream. Given the clues one wonders how much of this is really happening.

Shapes and things are going all spiritual. Members of the various mafia families have started to disappear; word is they were taken by a ghost. When they reappear they have been changed. Suspicion falls on a member of The Class, a suspicion that appears to be realised when someone turns up and immobilises Oonishi texhnolyze. This is a particularly bloody affair with a level of violence that would make a Tarentino film blush. There's more strange happenings and more people speaking in riddles.

So, we're on the last episode of Volume Four of this weird and wonderful show. Strain, and another citizen of Gabe is killed. With Ran unable to shoulder the responsibility that comes with being the seer, the locals are getting restless. The Class enact a coup and finally take over the running of the city with their new robots - the Shapes. Without spoiling it for you, this episode has the best ending so far which just leaves you panting for more.

Although visually the disc is fine, the audio options are nothing to write home about. Just an English and Japanese, with subtitles, stereo track. On the extras you get the Alternative Dialogue Outtakes, wherein the English dub actors have some fun by putting their own warped take of some of the scenes. Some are very funny and none are less than amusing. Other than that there is only a bunch of trailers and the DVD credits.

The series remains thought provoking and visually impressive. Maybe the unending darkness that surrounds both the city and its people may not be to everyone's tastes, but there's no denying that this is anime at an adult level.

Charles Packer

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