Texhnolyze

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Ichise Texhnolyze.jpg
If there's anything you want, anything at all... come to me. I'll be your guardian angel.
Opening theme[1]

In a man-made underground society, descendants of a banished generation vie for control of the crumbling city of Lux. Ichise, an orphan turned prize fighter, loses a leg and an arm to satisfy an enraged fight promoter. On the brink of death he is taken in by a young female doctor and used as a guinea pig for the next evolution of Texhnolyze.

With his new limbs, Ichise is eventually taken under the wing of Onishi, the powerful but untrusted leader of the Organo, an organization with some hold on the people of Lux. Meanwhile, four different factions begin to draw battlelines for territorial control of the city: The aforementioned Organo; The Union, a fiercely anti-Texhnolyze faction; The Racan, a group of rebellious Texhnolyzed youths; and the Class, a mysterious group of beings who lurk behind the city. As Ichise is unwillingly drawn deeper into an uncontrollable war, he learns of his possible future from the prophet girl Ran, who guides him from the shadows in his darkest times. With the explosion of warfare, Ichise must uncover the truth about Lux and fight for his survival.

From the same team of people that made Serial Experiments Lain, Texhnolyze is considered one of the strangest and darkest anime ever made.


Tropes used in Texhnolyze include:
  • Affably Evil: Yoshii.
  • Apocalypse How: It is vaguely presented, but the implications are that the surface-dwellers of the world at least partially predicted the decline of the human species, and isolated those with greatest genetic chances of prospering, which just happen also to be those that create violent tendencies. Also isolated were predecessors of the members of the Class, who were given special privileges in Lux in return for their cooperation. It is arguable as to whether this was a better decision than their first choice to solve the problem: kill everyone.
  • After the End
  • All There in the Manual: Given the minimalist tone of the series, several characters barely speak and have unspoken names, only appearing in the credits.
  • The Aloner: Ichise. Lampshaded by various people in-series.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Toyama.
  • And I Must Scream: This is what the Shapes end up as.
  • Animal Testing: Doc does this on rats, as is typical of an experimenting scientist.
  • Anti-Hero
  • Artificial Limbs: The Texhnolyze technology applied to humans, mainly in Ichise and Onishi's case but also Kano. Later events take this trope to a very disturbing extreme with the Shapes, humans who discard their biological bodies to be almost fully automatized as mechanical beings.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Both Yoshi and Kano ultimately get what they want, in spite of the fact that they both die.
  • Badass: Several, the most frequent ones being Ichise, Onishi, Shinji, Kimata and Toyama.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: In episode 17, Onishi and Kimata, leaders of opposing organizations who would like nothing more than to tear out each others' throats, commit to this as the Organo aids the Union in fending off the Shapes.
  • Black And Very Dark Grey Morality: Even the most sympathetic characters in Lux skirt close to being Villain Protagonists at times.
  • Big Bad: Yoshi in the first half of the series, Kano in the second.
  • Bishounen: Toyama is a less-traditional version.
  • Body Horror: All over the place. Texhnolyzation itself is seen as such by several characters. Then there are the Shapes, and what happens to Ran.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity The villains frequently keep blathering while they have one of the protagonists at their mercvy.
  • The Caligula: Kano.
  • The Chessmaster: Kano, as well.
  • Chick Magnet: Ichise. Every woman he comes across seems to want a piece of him. It's more disturbing than anything, especially considering his reactions to them.
  • City Noir: With Dutch Angles to boot.
  • Conspicuous CG: When showing Ichise's Texhnolyze arm and leg before they've been attached, as well as the Discoball of Doom.
  • Crapsack World: Lux is presented as the dumping site of the planet. However, the surface world is revealed to be almost completely depopulated, save for "ghosts" of people, because humanity has lost the collective will to live.
  • Creepy Monotone: Kano's voice always stays flat, which just adds to his creepy nature.
  • Cyber Cyclops: The Shapes.
  • Cyberpunk: Like Serial Experiments Lain, Texhnolyze is a particularly dark example.
  • Death Ray: The Shapes carry these, capable of shooting a perfectly circular hole through anything.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The series starts here and gets worse. The city of Lux is full of people despairing with their lives to the point where some just sit on the street too depressed to move, and Ichise comes from a childhood of despair. Yoshii was driven to insanity through his despair and dissatisfaction with the surface world, Tetsuya lives on the horizon, Shinji passes it when he goes on his Kill'Em All rampage up on the Hill, and Doc passes it when she discovers what the surface world consists of. Fitting, given that the rest of the surface-dwellers of the Earth passed it a long time ago.
  • Determinator: Ichise proves immovably determined to stay alive time and time again. Even Doc and Onishi remark on this, the first with amusement, the second with irritation because Ichise refuses to die in the first couple of episodes when he really should have.
  • Dissonant Serenity: One of the more terrifying things about Yoshii.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: All over the place, thanks to a heavy reliance on symbolism and metaphor to convey the story.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Shinji.
  • Downer Ending: While maintaining an extremely dark and depressing atmosphere throughout the show, the ending still manages to be impressively sad.
  • Driven to Madness: In perhaps the most ambitious example of this trope, Kano drives the entire city of Lux to madness, reflecting the inner state of his mind. Lampshaded by Ran, Onishi, and Kano.
  • Driven to Suicide: It is implied that Doc committed suicide in the bathtub of their hotel suite after Ichise went back to Lux. Also Ran, who killed her own mind to spite Kano and escape from an And I Must Scream situation.
  • Dying Alone: Ichise inadvertantly fulfils Ran's prophecy of him. However, as the power of his Texhnolyzed limbs almost dissipates completely, his arm projects an image of a flower onto the ground.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Literally everyone.
  • Dystopia
  • Eye Scream: Ichise gets his pupil plugged by the fingernail of his promoter's girlfriend during sex, which earns her a punch in the face. Hal also suffers one of these when he betrays Shinji and then returns to kill him as a Shape. You don't see the actual injury, but the crunching sound is enough.
  • Eyes of Gold: Ran, Kano.
  • Fallen Princess: Doc.
  • Fan Disservice: Ichise's shirtless scenes and Doc's fetish of sleeping with her patients would provide relief from the impending grimness of the show if it wasn't for the disturbing manner in which they are presented.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: The Shapes, left immobile and immortal, and Tetsuya, who is left to wait until he dies in silent misery on the surface.
  • Genre Savvy: Shinji.
  • Hates Being Touched: Ichise.
  • Heroic Mime: Ichise. He can talk, he just stubbornly prefers not to.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Most notably, Doc is Sir Integra Wingates Hellsing.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Whenever there is a massacre, and there are quite a few.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: The DVD releases of Texhnolyze features "Alternate Dialogue Outtakes", which redubs select clips from the included episodes with snarky, bizarre, or outright wacky dialogue (such as changing a vicious gun battle into a rather enthusiastic paintball match, and by-and-large Lampshading the entire Bowdlerization process).
  • Human Resources: Raffia. Even more terrible when it's revealed that it actually no longer serves a purpose and is simply being produced as a matter of procedure.
  • Humanity Is Insane: Kano seems to believe this. Within the context of the show, he is arguably right.
  • Humanity's Wake
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Seems to be the closest thing the show has to an overarching message.
  • Innocent Flower Girl: Ran plays with the trope in various ways, though she really isn't all that innocent.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Kano is a delusional solipsist with severe homicidal tendencies who wont entertain the idea that human beings are anything other than playthings produced by his mind.
  • It Got Worse: In general, the longer the show goes on, the more hopeless its characters' situations start to look. And then you find out what's above-ground.
  • It's All About Me: Kano, in one of the most horrifying examples of this trope. He believes that Lux itself is a reflection of his mind, and that humans are puppets or homunculi eroding it. He would qualify for A God Am I, except that he doesn't believe that he's God, he believes that he is reality itself.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: The workings of the Raffia, the Organo, the Class and surface are all explained through minimalist storytelling. Pay attention.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Subverted at times but also played straight many a time. Some of the curved blades used by the Organo thugs seem to be cavalry sabers rather than katanas, but the main characters in Organo all use katanas, so this trope is played straight more often than not.
  • Kill'Em All: By the end of the series, absolutely everybody is dead, with the exception of the Shapes, who are forced to live forever, and Tetsuya, who is still waiting to die on the surface.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Kano.
  • Lack of Empathy: Yoshii.
  • Likes Older Women: Yoshi is only interested in prostitutes with "experience."
  • Lonely Piano Piece: "Time for Blooming Flower"
  • Lost Technology: Interestingly enough, the surface world seems to be stylistically stuck in the fifties, with old fashioned radios and other outdated technology just laying around, but mixed with various examples of extremely sophisticated tech.
  • Mad Oracle: Although Ran claims to be this at the end, she in fact narrowly subverts this trope.
  • Mad Scientist / Hot Scientist: Doc, in spades.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Several; most prevalent are Yoshii and Kano. A couple of the Organo take a stab at it, but fail when they are thwarted by other, smarter Manipulative Bastards such as Kohakura and Onishi. And while not really being one himself, Shinji seems rather adept at seeing through other people's machinations when inclined.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Subverted.
  • Messianic Archetype: Ran.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Kano.
  • Minimalism: The series' defining stylistic trope.
  • Mind Screw: This series can be difficult to understand given the method of storytelling.
  • Mysterious Waif: Ran, again.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: When the characters reach the surface world.
  • Oedipus Complex: Ichise, who never really knew his father, adopts Doc as his "second mother" by Word of God. However, he lets her have sex with him whenever she repairs his Texhnolyzed limbs.
  • Only Sane Man: Onishi, though Kano believes it of himself.
  • Oracular Urchin: Ran, yet again.
  • Parental Incest: Poor Toyama.Apparently also how Kano came into this world.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Ichise.
  • Psycho for Hire: Yoshi, made scariest by his overall sane looking attitude and soft voice.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Kano is a Type C.
  • Pygmalion Plot: One of the sideplots between Doc and Ichise.
  • Rape as Backstory: Toyama. He really hates his father.
  • Royally Screwed-Up: Kano.
  • Screw Destiny: Ichise's approach to Ran's prophecy. It doesn't work.
  • Shirtless Scene: The anime begins with a naked Ichise staring at himself in the mirror. Keeping up with the spirit of the series, it is not used as Fan Service.
  • Shout-Out: To Macbeth in episode 18. Also, scenes from the surface world mimic the paintings of Edward Hopper.
  • Shut UP, Hannibal: Ichise sharply disagrees with Kano's nihilism. This is expressed by punching Kano's head clean off.
  • Silence Is Golden: The first line of dialogue in the series isn't spoken until 11 minutes into first episode. Ichise, the protagonist of the series doesn't say anything until episode 3, and after then is practically mute unless spoken to by someone he respects like Doc, Onishi, Toyama, or Ran.
  • Sliding Scale of Free Will Versus Fate: skates between type 0 and type 1. Ran predicts the future, but it is just one of possible futures... unfortunately, if it is a long-term prediction it is almost always correct. It's not that there is a higher power, it's just that the inevitable succession of human actions leads to the result she predicts.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: They don't get much more cynical than this show.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: Or serious for that matter.
  • Smug Snake Mizuno, to the point where the Union and the Rakan hang a Lampshade on him in very short succession. Kohakura seems like a more competent example but then arguably ends up even worse.
  • Surprisingly Good English: The second ED that plays at the very last episode, "Walking in this Empty Earth", features English lyrics and while they are heavily accented and rather nonsensical the grammar is correct and understandable.
  • The Stoic: Ichise, who only talks when he has to. He doesn't even speak until the third episode.
  • Storming the Castle: Shinji, in the second-to-last episode.
  • Story Arc: Two of them; the first half mainly revolves around the actions of Yoshii, the second half is about the war for the city.
  • Technology Porn
  • That Man Is Dead: Ichise says this when talking about his missing limbs.
  • There Are No Good Executives: A rare subversion in Onishi, who is distrusted as the head of the ominous mafia-like business, Organo, that maintains enough control over Lus to prevent it from falling apart; despite this, he is one of the show's few sympathetically heroic characters.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Well, it does when you have a computer in your arm plotting out the trajectory for you.
  • The Ubermensch: Kano, who tends very much to Social Darwinist tendencies.
  • The Unfettered: Both Yoshii and Kano.
  • Visionary Villain: Again, both Yoshii and Kano.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: There are big brown rats everywhere, they are particularly noticeable when Ichise gets thrown into the sewers, and they are Doc's test subjects, but they are not depicted as hostiles; in most cases, they are presented as pitiful creatures.
  • Wild Card: Ichise and Yoshii.
  • World Half Empty: Fewer anime have ever been so faithful to this trope. Not only does Lux itself qualify, but we later learn that the world on the surface is nearly empty, being only populated by ghostly half-humans that have given up on living but are too tired to seek death.
  • Wretched Hive: Lux, obviously.
  • World of Silence: The surface world, and Lux after the Shapes stop moving.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: That X in the title may lead the uninitiated to pronouncing the title Teks-nolyze. The anime itself makes it quite clear this is not the case.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Ran prophesies that Ichise will kill countless people before dying alone and unloved. He swears to fight this fate. He doesn't succeed.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Everyone else in the series has realistic hair and eye colors except for Kano, who has blue hair and yellow eyes.
  1. The line itself is taken from the film The Swimmer, starring Burt Lancaster