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Texhnolyze volume two: Spectacle

voice cast: Justin Gross, Patrick Seitz, Carrie Savage, Sam Regal, and Gina Grady

director: Hiroshi Hanasaki

93 minutes (12) 2003
MVM DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 4/10
reviewed by Paul Higson
Complain if you must but complain will I too. I admit to not having seen the first volume of four episodes in the Texhnolyze series. I can be accused of plenty by not having done so. For example, of course I am going to have difficulty understanding what is going on and reading which side the characters are on. There are standalone drama series and there are serials. You can watch four episodes of The Professionals and have four stories beginning to end. It is unimportant what occurs before and after. When it was videotape you could only get so many episodes on a cassette. If it was a long series it was released only following sensible market research and an understood existent reliance on fans. In the DVD age most American seasons run 26 episodes and are pushed out in one boxset, so the UK series on average at eight episodes would be foolish to break them up for DVD release. Anime is the one area where the episodes are sectioned off still. It is done clearly to recoup on the costs of dubbing them for the English language market. Texhnolyze: volume two does not account for newcomers to the series, you are either in or you are out, you began with volume one or you are not invited to bother. There is no recap, nor, having seen the four episodes, curiosity enough to send me into research mode. There could be clues on the sleeve, but this is not provided to this reviewer either. Why don't MVM have the foresight to include a character gallery or synopsis on the disc to update latecomers?

As far as can be made out, the future is cybernetic and violent which is handy because lost limbs and digits can be replaced by bionic parts and full metal fingers. Rogue 05: Loiter begins without explanation. Shinji and Yoshii drink, the former the lean, handsome, young heroic type and the latter a shifty Tom Selleck. Struggling through the streets meanwhile is Ichise, dragging his mechanical leg and swinging his new metal arm uselessly. Yosshi buys sex and is revealed to be a cold and quick, murderous little shit. Ichise drags his leg. Episode six: Rogue 06: Repetition, if you please, and an apt title. Ichise drags his leg, but this time through the sewer system into which he has been dumped following an assault. A picture is sketched of a future city with factions technical, gangster, youth, innocents and the lone manipulator, Yosshi, who is playing the groups off against one another, to some untold end. Let's wrap this up in the remaining episodes Rogue 07: Plot and Rogue 08: Crucible. Ichise finds his strength to escape the sewers only to come up against Ishi, a suit with a samurai sword who is apparently the one who cleaved off the boy's limbs in the first place. Ichise returns the sword through the leg of one of his attackers and pummels the face off the other.

Life is cheap, bullets put paid to one prominent figure and his company in their car and a bomb devastates the youth gang. A face off between two groups of gangsters, one led by super-cool Onishi, is interrupted by the survivors of the teen gang, not to mention clumsy Ichise, while Yoshii watches down the crosshairs of a rifle from a rooftop. Lots of death but the key players escape to do battle another day and the episodes end as bafflingly and suddenly as they began.

'Texhnolyze' is the procedure for creating biomechanical parts for humans and Organo is the company behind them, but that is as far as I got in coming up to speed with the elementals of the piece. The characters were obvious and lacking, the animation good, the opening soundtrack an urgent, unimaginative techno clatter. The sewer episode is a drag. There is not enough that is fresh and original in this scenario, harsh and ugly and pointless. The extras include 'outtakes' that shows the dubbing crew having a bit of fun which proves surprisingly light relief but is not as amusing as they think. Perhaps it was done out of boredom.

Texhnolyze: volume two is not a bad four episodes but weak by comparison to some of the true genius out there in Japanese animation.
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