Volume 5 - Lies and Despair

Starring (voice): Akira Haga, Shizuka Itou and Hiroshi Tsuchida
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 10 July 2006

Buried beneath the Earth's crust the forgotten and dying city of Lux continues to be controlled by the four warring gangs. Joining with the Class, the Organo, the Racan or the Union brings immediate benefits of power and prosperity, whilst the rest of the city wallows in abject poverty. Only the Texhnolyze process seems to offer any help by merging humans with their prosthetic cybernetic limbs. In the dark dystopian city, death and dark forebodings are never far behind you...

Rogue 17, Dependence, and the Shapes, fully cybernetic humans, continue their attack on the city. The gang have all but been destroyed and Hal returns as a shape to settle some old scores. In this episode old rivalries, between the gangs are put aside as the city fights the onslaught of the shapes. Ichise, desperate for some answers, visits Doc - who still continues to refer to him as her best piece of work. But Ichise is there to discuss his dead mother's cells, which in a previous episode Doc had said he carried in his cybernetic arm. This turns out to be a lie, a lie she told him to make him have the cybernetic arm. Not much happens in the episode to progress the plot. The Class still appear to be behind the shapes as they are the only gang untouched by the attack. The episode continues the shows journey into dark dystopian nightmare punctuated with large amounts of violence.

Rogue 18, Throne, continues with Ran, now with the power of a seer, having a vision of the obelisk hanging over her head. The attacks, which started in the previous episode, continue to wipe out the other gangs. Most of the major characters are attacked in one way or another. Onishi and Sjinji, having survived an assassination attempt, go to consult with the Elders of The Class, who admit that Kano is behind the Shapes. For the first time the Elders entreat Onishi to go to the world above and warn them of the impending Shape invasion. Onishi refuses, instead insisting that Doc and Ichise go in his stead, but will they make the journey into the light? This is another slow, brooding episode, as the show builds to its climax in Rogue 22, it is becoming increasingly introspective. You really have to pay attention to the dialogue as many more clues are given out, not only by Doc, but also by Onishi to Ichise as to the reality of his existence.

Rogue 19, Heavenward, and Doc and Ichise make it to the surface. Odd really as all they do is take a train. You would have thought that given it was that easy more of the citizens of Lux don't just leave due to the gangs and the poverty. The upper world is the antithesis of Lux. Where Lux revels in its city and technology, the surface world looks more like a rural idyll, though initially the place looks well kept, but deserted. What creatures there are, are very odd. A talking chair, a radio that keeps repeating the same phrase over and over, all very weird and confusing. At a cinema Doc and Ichise watch what looks like a film about the construction of the Obelisk in Lux.

So only one more DVD to go to finish the show and I'm as confused as ever. I'm still sticking with the thought that this is all some form of personal nightmare on the part of Ichise, mostly due to the enigmatic clues that Doc keeps giving him. However, Heavenward has given me pause for thought as it seems to indicate that the show is set further into the future than at first suggested. Doc and Ichise apparently contact what is left of the human race - that have evolved so far that they are now just waiting for extinction.

The disc continues to display the various animation forms in great detail, though once again the extras are somewhat disappointing. Audio options continue to be limited to 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.

Although there is a lot of bitching over the extras on anime discs, we should not forget that this is selling to a much smaller audience than a blockbuster film, from much smaller companies as well. In all honesty I'm delighted that they do what they can. So, another great, thought provoking, disc and only one more to go to reveal the truths behind the show.

Charles Packer

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