Texhnolyze Volume 3 : Retaliation - impressions and speculation

Volume three of Texhnolyze brings us enough into its world that the pieces are fitting together into a coherent pattern. Exactly where the story wants to go with it isn't clear but the general overtones of it is. So lets get into what it has to reveal.

First off I posited the idea in the last volumes speculation that the series was a profoundly Buddhist tale in nature and symbology. Something that a little bit of research shows me that volume two had a further connection to. One episode in volume two is titled 'Repetition', in it the narrator tells of how the city of Lukuss seems to suffer periodic bouts of manic violence where the eyes of the inhabitants change colour. Partly this is reinforcement of the idea of the spectacle which is something Yoshi has been pushing for. But what interests me here is that Buddhism has a variety of hells for those who are on the lower ebbs of the karmic wheel. Earliest of those hells is the Hell of Repetition. It is described as... "a place where those who kill for pleasure or desire end up. These murders brag about their actions, having no appreciation for the value of life." (http://www.khandro.net/doctrine_hells.htm)

It is an eeriely accurate description of the state Lukuss finds itself in. The people here certainly have little to no stock in the value of life. All sides meet out death casually and frequently, indeed the Organo almost have turned it into a sport with their underlings actually itching to get involved in what is euphamisticly described as a 'spectacle'. It seems reasonably fair to say that for one reason or another the Buddhist concept of the somewhat intangible Hell of Repetition has been given form in Texhnolyze's world.

Exactly why it has been created is an interesting question but that it was quite deliberately done is clear from Yoshii's actions. Perhaps the most significant thing to note about what volume three reveals is Sakimura's behavior to Yoshii. He isn't particularly surprised at the type of action Yoshii is taking, more the vigor and viciousness he is prepared to take it to. Indeed both of them comment on how orders have been delivered from above to do similar things in the past. One potential hint is that either Yoshii or Sakimura were the insitigators of the previous Spectacle that brought the Organo to power and Onishi into a position of power. My suspicion is that Sakimura is the one who was sent down last time and he became sufficiently disenchanted that he decided to stay in the city and observe it directly.

This neatly explains how Yoshii had detailed notes on the power structures and general details of Lukuss but it was all ten years or so out of date. It does raise an interesting set of questions. Exactly what is trying to be achieved with all this meddling? The city is designed to promote aggressive willfulness, I suspect Ichise is the poster child for what they want to create with his absolute solid determination to live. Secondly how does the Class fit into all this? We have seen precious little of them besides the heavily hooded and cloaked representative present in this volume but we do know that the Organo in particular respects and fears them. We also know that the Class is extremely interested in Raffia. Given that the glimpses we see of the Class representative show what looks awfully like a lot of tehxnolyze augmentation it would explain their obsessive interest in Raffia.

Still why I bring them up is because Yoshii isn't aligned with the Class. He comments to Doc about them with the ease of familiarity but he definitely doesn't view himself as a member of them. Perhaps the most tantilising thing he says before Sakimura does a little self-promotion is this snippet :-

"Mr Onishi, it would be nice if you'd cry and scream, at least a little. Especially since I can't enjoy something like this above ground."

Which if you combine it with his enigmatic comments to Shinji about whether there is something to go to on the surface or not and you get the idea that the surface world is in an unusual state. Given Yoshii's further interest in constantly self-improving the hints are there that the surface world has become overly rigid in some fashion or another. One that is causing issues for humanity in general.

Indeed Yoshii's long semi-coherent ramble about the importance of giving meaning to your own life strikes me as being the central key around which this story hinges. Yoshii states he wants the people of he city to awaken from their slumber and realise the power they have. It also is a fairly clear transliteration of Buddhist thinking with the path to enlightenment becoming the road to self determination and drive. Willfulness is perhaps the best term to describe it.

Other images and bits that grab me :-

Finally I am not sure what to make of this but eye colour does seem to be significant in the series. The clearest linkage is with Ichise and his pale blue eyes. I don't think it is an accident that the bulk of the spectators we see at the fight match before Ichise snaps have pale eyes themselves. It would seem it signals a joy and thrill in the commission of violence itself. After all Ichise spent many years trying to escape his grief by subsuming it will the violence of the fight pit. But what to make of the other eye colours - light green for Ran, sky blue for Doc, mud brown for Onishi and Michiko - I can't answer at this time. Hopefully further volumes will clarify this.

Philip R. Banks
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