published in Empire No.68, Sydney
When anime aims to get bleak, watch out. Texhnolyze vividly paints the future underworld of Lux drained of energy and inhabited by those forever on the cusp of complete collapse. Sexy brooding teen boxer Ichise is either a hull of a man or a rock of a human. In the opening episode his left arm and right leg are amputated by the sword-wielding yakuza warlord, Onishi, following Ichise's indiscreet encounter with an older woman tied to the yakuza gang.
Left for dead and incapable of continuing his life as a boxer, he is picked up like so much refuse by Doctor Kaneda. She spies in him the future of her own vision of limb replacement and augmentation - a process termed 'technolyzation'. Memorably merging erotic sensibilities with repellent physical debilitation, Texnolyze portrays such operations and their post-op therapy as mind-altering states of being. Ichise complicates the 'technolyzing' of his body by refusing to accept his New Type status. In a long string of episodes, his bull-headed drive is painfully depicted. In fact he mostly screams and grunts for the first half of the series. This aching portraiture is projected against a far-reaching plot involving warring gangs, underground rebels and corporate controls, all in all making Texhnolyze a mannered and mature drama.