Friday, December 19, 2008

The struggle to exist in the anime "Texhnolyze"

Texhnolyze is a series that portrays the struggle of Ichise, an underground fighter who struggles for his everyday survival in the underground city, Lux. He becomes a human guinea pig when he receives new cybernetic limbs called "Texhnolyze" after losing his fleshy limbs as punishment for angering a mob boss.

The backdrop is an especially violent and bleak world. Lux is plagued by a vicious gang war between Organo, a mafia-like entity, Racan, a bunch of ragtag kids looking for trouble, and the United Salvation Front, a cult-like organization that opposes the mechanical Texhnolyze limbs. This war is for the control of a substance called "Raffia", which is needed for "Texhnolyze" production.

Despite the deathly world of Lux (a really ironic name for an underground city), life there is much more desirable compared to the upper world (the normal above-ground world). The people in the upper world are quite frankly, living dead. They are the people who've lost all desire in living and just exist waiting to die. In this world, people have lost their drive, they ceased to be human. Imagine a dead world in which its inhabitants only wait for their deaths. No commerce, no society, nothing. Just a bunch of old people sipping coffee and waiting to die. That's the upper world.

In contrast, the violence-wracked Lux is brimming with life. The chaos is only a manifestation of one's desire, the desire to see the next sunrise. It turns out that the original inhabitants of Lux were banished from the upper world (for some unknown reason). Later in the series, Lux is invaded by mechanical beings which were themselves formerly human. I can never forget that line where a cyborg said that he chose to be turned into one because he wanted to live for as long as possible. This irrational desire to live struck me because in the final episodes, they (the mechs) were just there, planted on the ground, undying.

The contrast between the two worlds is what I think is the main focal point of the entire series. It is not Ichise nor the gang war (and the subsequent invasion of the city) nor the technology that struck me most. I find it interesting because it portrays the people living in daily violence as those most hopeful in life. If life is indeed a struggle, these people are its embodiment. These are people worthy of life. Sadly, there's nothing good for them in their world.

In the end, they all die. Lux disappeared when Ichise killed Kano, the city's human soul.


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