Few anime series even come close to being as relentlessly dreary as Texhnolyze, but the second half of Blassereiter certainly makes an honest effort. It almost seems to delight in giving its characters horrific backstories deeply ground in prejudice, abuse, injustice, and suffering; even bitch queen Beatrice gets a strong effort at a sympathetic background, it is not hard to understand why Xargin has gone down the apocalyptic path, and Joseph? His story would do Nestor The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey proud. The last dozen episodes even bring several characters back from the dead only to make them suffer more - or, in the case of Wolf, make them into even greater asses. (His eventual defeat is one of the more satisfying villain falls in recent memory.)
For all of the negativity, though, the second half does consistently pitch one positive message: no matter how bad the circumstances are, if one does not give up on life and humanity then something better can eventually come. In the series' backstory, Xargin became the villain when he lost sight of that and assumed the all-too-typical ''I have to destroy the world to bring it to peace arch-villain philosophy, while Joseph, after a major hiccup, eventually becomes its champion and Amanda, who is the only prominent character to remain completely human in a setting dominated by cyborgs and Amalgams, practically becomes its living embodiment. Characters even periodically remind you about the Message should you happen to forget it.
As crass as that may sound, though, the story is actually fairly solid in execution. Yes, little or nothing done here is bracingly different, but the writing makes an honest effort to make the story about more than just its action scenes and give it a more full-bodied feel. It does not force in fan service or mature content, instead allowing its more adult-oriented focus to develop naturally; apparently Gonzo actually did learn something from Speed Grapher. There are even a couple of parts that some may find genuinely emotional.
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