Sunday, July 5, 2009

Top 5 Anime

Texhnolyze, I am sorry. You were number one. You were the top of my list, until yesterday. Compared to other anime, your concept is original, your artwork is mindblowing, and your dystopian world paints a picture of humanity so bleak that recalling it makes me wince.

(By the way, it's pronounced TEK-NO-lies)

What took the throne? Find out tomorrow!

As with nearly everything Yoshitoshi ABe is involved with, Texhnolyze is a tour-de-force anime. Set in the underground city of Lux (Latin for 'light'), Texhnolyze follows multiple lead characters as they deal with the fact that their crumbling society is approaching end-times.

Ichise is a prize-fighter who winds up having sex with his promoter's girlfriend, freaks out when she sticks her fingernail into his eye (really, who wouldn't?), and as a result has one arm and one leg hacked off of his body. He's left to die in the streets but happens to be rescued by a Doctor who specializes in texhnolyzation: the merging of the human body with machine parts.

As expected, the residents of Lux have mixed views on texhnolyzation. The Organo is a group that promotes the process, the Union decries the desecration of a human body with artificial structures, the Racan are roaming texhnolyzed teen gangs, the Class is made up of the governing minds of Lux, and the residents of Gabe live on their own, following their clairvoyant prophet.

The texhnolyzation argument is not unlike our current generation's debate on stem-cell use. The followers of the Union are quick to rally to the idea that a texhnolyzed human has given up his humanity and is a disgrace to existence. And even though the Organo support the trade, they seem to be more interested in profit than helping the disabled and disfigured; the Organo operate along the same lines as the yakuza or the mafia. They also have to deal with the terrorist actions of the Union, who like to further their agenda by killing Organo members. Meanwhile, the Racan are out messing up the city, making it hard for anyone to want to support the texhnolyzation process.

The Racans are, perhaps, representative of the situations currently facing Japan's teenagers. Stuck in a society trying to find its true identity, they are jobless, aimless, and outcasts in the current political system.

The Class is completely detached from the horrors of daily life in Lux, sitting back in a sequestered part of the city. They are presumably in contact with those who live above ground, a place should be, symbolically, a paradise.

As characters from all of these factions come to meet each other, they are forced to face the fact their actions are all leading towards the destruction of Lux. The story progresses with a stellar case of bi-polarity: as Ichise learns to use his new body, the world around him falls apart; as one person struggles to become whole, everything else disintegrates.

While the plot may seem like it is full of lose threads at first, it all weaves together to form a satisfying conclusion--a rare feat for most anime.

I realize that this review is a little short, but I am so excited about writing my next piece that I will be sacrificing some details in order to move on.

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