April 13, 2004

Texhnolyze Episode 1



"I want shows like Kokaku [Ghost in the Shell] to stop saying things that are hard to understand, and make shows that everyone can enjoy a bit more."
- Yuji Matsukura, Producer, J.C. Staff

There's a gimmick in American comic books known as "the silent issue". It's pretty self explanatory. No sounds, no bubbles, just art. It annoys the heck out of me, as it rarely seems natural, always contrived.

Enter Texhnolyze, which, for its first ten minutes, feel like the anime equivalent. No music, echolicious, nightmare-like sounds, no dialogue, and a bunch of slow motion images that barely serve as an introduction to what's going on. Then you get three lines of dialogue, and you're back into yawnsville.

There's no music, either. Because, you know, silent soundscapes evoke a certain feeling. So, in that sense, it fits great. The most common sound effect is not speech, but rapid breathing (I'm not kidding).

Animation, art and style-wise, this is the next in a long line of anime with long, slow shots (and even slower pans), where everything moves at a sloth's pace, drawn out to the point where you could watch it fast-forwarded and not miss anything. You get the feeling that every shot has been carefully constructed to convey some sort of meaning. It doesn't really come across, and I don't see why anyone would care except for the pretentious guys who come up with this crap. In fact, this whole torturous episode just feels like one big ego stroke.

The creators are screaming out at you:

Check out how not commercial I am! Check out how deep my dark, gritty pictures are! Can you not see my genius from the darkness? And, oh, look, a girl wearing a mask! The reason you think you're confused, is you just don't understand my high concept! Philistine.

This is art at its finest.

Rating: F

Posted by Kei at April 13, 2004 10:53 PM

I swear, I fell asleep watching this first episode. This didn't bode well for the series, and it didn't prompt me to obtain any of the other episodes. Damn. I was hoping it would be kind of Lain-esque.

Posted by: jay at April 13, 2004 11:13 PM

*giggles* Well phrased.

Posted by: Rem at April 15, 2004 11:08 AM

I have to say that I am a patient person at least. And I am an anime fan who likes to indulge in watching thought-provoking animes. Perhaps Texholyze will be the show I have been searching for. Well, I'll check it out anyway, I never get bored over this kind of show. ^_^

Posted by: Rainy at August 3, 2004 08:00 PM

i just started an anime blog because i have little else to do. i was searching for other reviews of texhnolyze because i just wanted to make sure i'm not crazy. i agree, the first episode is AWFUL. one of the worst things i've ever seen! i'm so happy that you agree and share my exact sentiments.

Posted by: amber at August 20, 2004 10:00 PM

I think that the most difficult part of the series for people to come to grips with is its lack of a coherent storyline at the beginning. Instead, what you're looking at is a series of character sketches. These types of complaints are warranted, certainly, but there is an appeal to the series that emerges once you stop looking for a driven plotline and stop watching it *passively*. Enjoy a "mundane" portrait of a dystopia- you can't (or at least, in my opinion, shouldn't) just leap into a completely foreign world and expect to sympathize with the characters. How are you supposed to understand or sympathize with some of the disturbingly inhuman (-seeming) tendencies without having an idea of day-to-day life in a dystopia is like? And if it wasn't presented so "pretentiously," it would be an even *more* drawn out set-up as you watched people cook meals, get dressed, go to work, get mugged, and go home.
But, like I said, it's not as if the complaints aren't warranted.
If you don't like this, I recommend you also avoid reading anything written by William Faulkner.

Posted by: arg0t at December 29, 2004 08:51 PM

I know Haibane did the same thing with character sketches of superfluous characters. The characters are pretty flat here though.

What must be understood is, that it's frequently not "lolol i'm so profound and no one understands this" but rather "lolol, this makes 1% of the population happier than a form that makes 50% of the population happy"

Posted by: Inst at January 27, 2005 10:07 AM

I saw the last three episodes and they seemed pretty cool. They had sound, dialouge, music and all that stuff. It wasn't that dark and depressing either.

Posted by: Linleigh at April 23, 2005 10:47 AM
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