|Melody of Oblivion|
(Bōkyaku no Senritsu)
|Created by||Gainax, J.C. Staff and Kadokawa Shoten|
|Written by||Shinji Katakura|
|Published by||Kadokawa Comics|
|Original run||2002 – 2004|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Hiroshi Nishikiori|
|Written by||Yōji Enokido|
|Music by|| Hijiri Kuwano |
|Original run||6 April 2004 – 21 September 2004|
The Melody of Oblivion (忘却の旋律, Bōkyaku no Senritsu) is a 2004 Japanese anime television series planned by Gainax and animated by J.C.Staff. The series originally aired between April 7, 2004 and September 21, 2004 on TBS.
The Melody of Oblivion is a series rife with cultural references ranging from Zen archery and Bushido to the Bible's Book of Revelation, stories of Greek Mythology, and images from Borge's "The Garden of Forking Paths" can be seen in the series.
Melody of Oblivion's premise is that in the 20th century, humanity waged and lost a war against beings known only as the Monsters. In the 21st century, the Monsters rule the earth, but they have reconstructed society such that virtually no one born after the war ended is aware that it ever happened. Children are disappearing mysteriously. Only the Warriors of Melos are still fighting against the Monsters. The series focuses on Bocca, a teenager who chooses the path of the Warrior. In doing so, he gains the power to fight back at the horrors he sees, but it costs him his place in society.
Melos Warriors are the only ones who can see the ephemeral "Melody", personified as a girl who appears at important times and shows emotion but does not speak. The Melos, as they are also referred to, fight primarily with bows and arrows infused with the energies of their spirit (seemingly described in Italian words and phrases used in musical notation). The visible marks (Sacred Scars) that they employ in this infusion process appear as tattoos on their person.
The Melos Warriors are aided by devices called Aibar machines (could also be transliterated as Aiba-Machine), which are essentially futuristic motorcycles with many additional capabilities. ('Aiba' or 'Aibar' are transliterations for a word in Japanese meaning 'Favorite Horse.') The process of bonding a Warrior of Melos and an Aibar machine involves a symbolic naming of the bike by the one who is to ride it. Thereafter, the Aibar machine follows voice commands. All Aibar machines are at least minimally sentient, while some possess fully human-like intelligence. As such, they can function mostly or completely independently of their drivers when need be.
Opposing the Melos Warriors are the Monsters themselves and their human lackeys, the Monster Union. The former are always shown as normal looking human beings, however this is not what they truly look like. If a normal person (one who is not a Melos Warrior) looks at their true form, they will automatically transmogrify into a bizarre object (such as stone statues or puppets, but varying with whatever monster is being viewed.) It should also be noted that all the monsters mirror creatures of Greek Mythology, such as Horu, the first monster featured, who is referred to by Kurofune as a "disgusting cow" and is said to have been sealed in a labyrinth. This, along with the fact that a pair of bull horns and legs manifest when he is around, implies he is the legendary Minotaur. Several other featured monsters are Medusa, Hecate, Talos, and Pan. All monsters seem to have some control over reality itself and can only be killed by Melos Arrows.
The Monster Union, which is part Satanic cult and part ultra-fascist secret society, is composed of people who have been given power and authority in exchange for providing a steady supply of human sacrifices to their Monster overlords, and keeping the majority of humanity in the dark as to who holds the real power and what really goes on in the world. The process of imbuing Monster Union members with their powers leaves a visible mark on the body identical to a hot iron brand mark.
Monster Union leaders employ machines called robot-monsters in combat, but in contrast to the Melos Warriors, there is no standard design among these machines aside from the fact that all seem to be shaped like animals from the Chinese zodiac. The names of these robots are also in Chinese.
The contrast between the Monster Union members and the Melos Warriors is suggestive of the text in Revelations where it refers to people being marked by Heaven and being marked by Hell.
Melody of Oblivion has a very distinctive soundtrack featuring prominent virtuoso violin by Hijiri Kuwano and acoustic guitar solos and other classical-style music. The music was composed and arranged by Yoshikazu Suo and Hijiri Kuwano. The theme music is titled "The Spirit of Flamenco". There are also more disturbing synth and amplified guitar pieces during scenes of creeping horror. The show itself is also full of musical references, from the Melos Warriors' given names (Kurofune Ballad being the most obvious) to the Italian musical vocabulary which flashes on the Melos Warrior 'targeting interface' during battle (animato, con fuoco, passionato, energico, etc.).
Although people classify monsters as myth and tell Bocca to stay away from the old man who loiters near his school, he befriends the old man named Tsunagi, who is actually a scientist. Bocca also worked part-time for him at his auto-shop. Bocca soon meets Sayoko who tells him she is looking for a warrior; hearing this gives Bocca new hope for what he wants to do in life. When the warrior Kurofune (the same warrior Sayoko was looking for) goes to see Tsunagi, Bocca learns that Tsunagi was the leading scientist of aibanetic technology and an ally of the warriors. Later that day Bocca witnessed a battle between Hor and Kurofune, which awoke the possibility to become a warrior within him. When Kurofune leaves to continue on with his journey, Bocca and Sayoko decide to go after him. The series then follows Bocca's journey as he sees the damage the monsters have done, learns of the humans who have pledged allegiance to them, meets other Melos Warriors and develops a romantic relationship with Sayoko. His Melos tattoo is on his left arm, and his Aibar machine is Elan Vital. His command for his Melos arrow is "Flush." His bow was originally the bow he used for the archery club, and when it got broken, it was replaced by the handle bars of his Ivermachine.
Bocca says that Sayoko is a “girl who belong to a world of sunlight”, but despite being generally cheerful in disposition, Sayoko’s past is marred by a dark truth. Her parents always loved her brother more than her. When her brother grew up, Sayoko was sacrificed to help her brother become a member of the Monster Union and Kurofune saved her from it. That was when Sayoko fell for him. Together, Bocca and Sayoko traverses many monster-controlled area, delving into the monsters network and hierarchy. Amidst the conflicts and chaos, Bocca and Sayoko grow closer and find that their fondness for each other had developed into something more than friendship.
However, it soon becomes clear that her hatred for the Melos is a veneer to protect her from the truth that she is unwilling to accept: The boy she is in love with, Sky Blue, is really an Aibar Machine. After overcoming this, she finally slips into her role of a Melos warrior and mounts Sky Blue to travel to other places. Her tattoo is hidden on inner thigh of her right leg, explaining why Bocca thought she was not a Melos Warrior at first. Her Aibar is Sky Blue, an earlier model of the Unicorn-series. His first appearance in the series portrayed him to be a devil by Millionaire Beaver. Her command for her Melos arrow is "Straight flush." Her bow is a wooden bow that she carries around.
A Monster Union Agent kidnapped her from her parents in the toy section of a department store. She managed to escape before she could be sacrificed; however, to this day she cannot remember who her parents were or where she lived. She is accompanied by three Unicorn-series aibar machines: Hikari, Nick, and Kuron. They came together when Koko awakened them. She had wanted to free all of the Unicorn-series Aibar Machines, but had no chance to so she set these three free and gave them names. Together they form the armed theatrical group Chentauro. Upon meeting Bocca and his friends, fighting monsters and uncovering mysteries together, she was reunited with her father, the Prime Minister. Misadventure has it that they only come together when he was at the brink of death. Father and Daughter never get to know each other beyond physical appearance. Her Melos tattoo is on her right cheek. Her command for her Melos arrow is "Four card." Her bow is formed from a stick that she carries, which expands to a bow at her command.
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