Sometimes the First Episode is Enough

A couple of days ago, I suggested to my sister that we watch an anime from my enormous Want to Watch list on Anime-Planet.com.  Basically, anything which I’ve found remotely interesting and have yet to watch is on there.  I’m especially interested in the classics.  So, her choice of Texhnolyze rather pleased me at first.

Watching the first few minutes immediately made me realize that this was a very sophisticated work.  The setting is incredibly dark, and they do not employ dialogue–to be more precise, speech of any kind–for the first half.  One is particularly struck by the griminess and darkness, which creates a rather empty feeling in one’s gut.  This pleased me at first, since the setting and mood come across as very original–even if they draw out silent scenes of the cityscape and dark rooms for too long.  Then, a woman’s appearance initiates a long sex scene (I skipped most of it) to which the episode continually reverts in between scenes concerning a certain drifter (who actually speaks!) and a girl wearing a fox mask, who leads him to a kind of gang.  So, the hollowness in my stomach increases along with the lack of emotion, inhumanity, and depravity of the characters.  A gun fight occurs, and the person whom we take to be the main character is cut down by a katana at the episode’s end.

So, let me make it clear that I’m discarding this show not because its bad–it displays a ton of originality and sophistication, but because it’s evil.  One shouldn’t meditate on the dark side of the human character for too long, and plenty of other shows examine the darkness in humanity without becoming inhuman, e.g. Serial Experiments Lain.  I rather feel like comparing T. S. Eliot’s The Wasteland to this show.  The lack of meaning Eliot finds in the modern worldview creates a similar feeling to the hollowness of Texhnolyze, but such things are better read than watched.

At any rate, I decided to prevent further harm to my psyche and stopped watching right there.  I’d recommend that none of my dear readers watch it.  For those of you who have seen it, is there any positive or interesting message to the show that one discovers further on?  Does the mood lighten or become less hollow?

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3 comments on “Sometimes the First Episode is Enough

  1. TWWK says:

    Thanks for the warning. I usually jump into series , even darker ones, with an open mind and one looking to take out important ideas that might relate to my faith. After all, there are certainly many sections of the Bible that are full of depictions of the evils that men do. But there are times where a series will cross the line and I’m simply invaded by such thorough darkness, that I simply have to drop it for my own good.

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    • And thanks for your comment. That’s a good philosophy to have when it comes to anime, and I myself am willing to give most things a chance. At the end of this episode, I did spend about two minutes considering whether to watch the next one, but I had a feeling that it was only going to get darker–especially after reading this thorough review: http://www.anime-planet.com/reviews/a113.html.

      It’s true that in the Bible there are several dark sections (the end of the second book of Judges and the Diaspora come to mind), but Israelites believe that there is a good God controlling everything and that “the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous stretch out their hands to do wrong” (Ps. 125:3). Pagans, on the other hand, have tragedy imbedded into their bones: things can always get worse, and likely will. So, seeing Texhnolyze start off so wretchedly, I ended it right there. When I’m next in the mood for something dark I’ll give Boogiepop Phantom another look, which bothered me more for the slowness and incoherence of the first episode than how dark it was. People do love that show, after all!

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  2. […] as in certain of Bernard Cornwell’s novels, can turn people off from a story as easily as a graphic anime.  Even if  it does not delve into the all the horrors of the Hundred Years’ War, Sir Arthur […]

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Legens, scribe sententias tuas.

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