Tehxnolyze: Volume Three: Retaliation
Tehxnolyze’s third volume, spanning episodes nine through twelve, continue to follow Ichise’s journey through the dark corridors of Lukuss and the political factions and individuals that continue to manipulate it. A strange, disturbing series of events leads to a shakeup within the ranks of the Organo, and Ichise finds himself indebted to its young leader, Onishi. At the same time, the young girl Ran continues to watch everything, knowing and already dreading the inevitable outcome.
After two volumes of laborious setup, it finally feels like Tehxnolyze is hitting its real stride in terms of plot development–partially signified by the death of one of its most significant characters. The developments within the Organo and Onishi’s role within it are also intriguing, as the connections between the principal characters continue to be deepened and established. It’s in retrospect that it becomes clear how carefully crafted this first arc has been, everything being put into context before closing the chapter with episode ten, appropriately titled “Conclusion”. In the end, the puppet master’s true intentions and origins remain a partial mystery, leaving the viewer to grapple with the implication that the end goal may have really been simply to achieve a “spectacle”.
With said conclusion, the focus of the show moves on more sharply to the political aspects of Tehxnolyze’s world, as the Organo struggles to regain its footing after the chaos left in Yoshii’s wake. Ichise begins to take a more active role in the events that surround him. Through his assignments, we see more of the ugliness filtered into all corners of Lukuss, and gain a better understanding of the specific ideas and resource issues that are really fuelling the conflicts within the city–shifting the perspective from an outsider’s intrigue to an insider’s understanding.
Still gorgeously animated and directed, these episodes are akin to slowly waking from a dream, as Ichise finally emerges from the haze of his painful experiences with his forced Tehxnolyzation and begins to find new direction in his life as a member of the Organo working for Onishi. We also see the threads of a character arc connecting here, as the question of what happened to Ichise’s father and his lingering rage over the incident once again comes into play.
The show remains most skillful in its handling of quiet poignancy, capturing stark silence even in the midst of bloody gang wars and violent death. It also continues to refuse to spell everything out for the viewer, maintaining the vivid feel that Lukuss has layers and darkness that a single person could not hope to fully grasp; glimpses of a disturbing exchange for the sake of information, the implications of the strange behavior of Onishi’s wife, the continued murmurings about the elusive “surface”, all contribute to create an immersive mosaic that can actually be exhausting to watch and piece together.
Ran, who had mostly served as a mysterious shadow for Ichise in the past, also manages to get some context in these episodes, as it’s made eerily clear that she and her powers have attracted a cult-like following–and as her former fixation on Ichise turns bitter as she tells him she no longer wants to bear witness to what his future holds. Silently watching Ichise fall victim to his own rage and lust for violent revenge, the audience cannot help but share in her dread of what’s to come, even without understanding just what it is that she sees.
The English language track continues to be of very high quality. The new characters’ performances were well casted; none of them stood out as particularly jarring or out of place.
Tehxnolyze remains as beautiful on a visual and audio level as ever. The main extra featured is a ten-minute gag reel of the English actors making jokes in-character, some of which are actually pretty amusing. Otherwise, it’s a standard batch of previews and creditless clips.
Tehxnolyze’s focus continues to sharpen as we learn more about these characters, their goals, and the politics that surround them; even moreso, the creeping understanding that with Ichise, something is building to a change within the city of Lukuss. The transition and balance between its show of raw, haunting atmosphere and plot progression is masterful and deliberate. It’s not a particularly enjoyable show to watch, but it’s certainly intriguing to watch play out in all of its gritty, surrealistic glory.
Overall Score: 8.5