The Melody of Oblivion Vol. 1

by Joe Luscik

When you pick up The Melody of Oblivion and check out the box, you might have an idea of what youíre getting into. The show certainly seems like it might be a bit different from what youíre normally used to, but after watching it, the odds are that you werenít expecting anything like this.

This show seems to really try to stand out from the crowd in a few different ways, namely the animation style, cinematography, and overall presentation of the show. Youíll be hit with some backgrounds that are unlike most modern shows and unique camera affects (The Melody of Oblivion LOVES jump cuts). Additionally, this is a show that seems to try and fit together a bunch of different genres and styles of shows, although it isnít able to blend them together as well as Elfen Lied.

This anime starts off as a high school drama, as our not-that-great lead character Bocca is a typical high school student whoís not doing very well in school. He gets picked on by the other kids, and he is basically just going through the motions. He does, however, seem to have a very attractive girlfriend who he only calls "Four Eyes." She has glasses, but being that Bocca is in high school, and this girl only seems to want to do whatever Bocca feels like, the name-calling feels wrong.

Bocca works for Tanagi, the old guy in town that the townsfolk seem to think is a bit shady. Regardless, Bocca really likes him and he insists that Tanagi is a good guy. Tanagi tells him stories about the war that took place. This is where the driving force of The Melody of Oblivion comes from. During the 20th century, a huge war took place between humans and monsters. It was an extremely violent war that ended in a victory for the monsters. As the years have gone by, people have started to forget about the war. Most people donít really know much, if anything, about it, and no one talks about it.

Bocca really becomes interested in the war, and he doesnít want to forget about it and what happened. His dream is to become a Warrior of Melos, the people who bravely fought against the monsters. Some are even still battling them to this day.

All of the warriors are looking for this girl that only they can see. She appears in front of them wherever they are. The warriors call her the Melody of Oblivion. They feel that if they can find her, she can help to solve all of the problems in the world and rid the world of the monsters. Although they arenít apparent in everyday life to everyone, the monsters are still very present. They control people and drive the humans to offer sacrifices to them.

As the story continues, the high school drama tone of The Melody of Oblivion becomes more comedic with the addition of Sayoko Tsukinomori, who is searching for one of the Warriors of Melos. She seems to be a rip-off of Haruko from FLCL in appearance, and with the chain bracelets that move whenever a warrior is around.

The show quickly takes a more mature, darker tone and turns into a horror/thriller, as we see one of the monsters in a dark room with a naked young boy as a sacrifice. The monster also manages to "turn on" the secretary, so to speak, just by looking at her, followed by turning her and another man into a creepy puppet with a photo of their faces on it. This is certainly a long way from the first half of the first episode.

Closing out the sudden and sometimes awkward mood shifts is a move towards a generic action show, with heroes shouting out their special moves fighting the villains. During this first battle, it is revealed that Bocca is actually one of the Warriors of Melos, so he gets a cool weapon and bike, as well as a nifty glowing tattoo.

As the first volume continues, Bocca decides to leave school on his quest to find the Melody of Oblivion and to battle the monsters, accompanied by Sayoko. The first volume didnít seem to have very good transition between episodes, because suddenly the characters are in a completely different place than where we last saw them.

One of the major downsides of The Melody of Oblivion for me is that fact that itís almost too weird for its own good. It seems to try too hard to be different that it comes off as being odd, confusing, and sometimes goofy. Requiem from the Darkness is a show that truly pulls off an alternative tone that serves to make it stand out, and it does it in a great way. When you have scenes of giant babies marching from a bus, and a bus growing bull-like appendages as it goes into battle, they are suppose to make the show more creepy, but they also leave you scratching your head, wondering whatís going on. The Melody of Oblivion also adds in some moments of goofy comedy that doesnít fit within a dark and mature show with fan service!

There is a running gag of the lead character having his sleeve ripped off every time he uses his powers. I jokingly said to my brother, "So what does he do? Sew it back on at night every time?" Long behold, the very next scene shows him SEWING ON HIS SLEEVE.

The animation for this show stands out, but not really for a good thing. The backgrounds are not what you'd expect in this age of smooth plastic CG. I expected Lupin to come running out on screen. I'll give credit to the show for being different with the watercolor backgrounds, but they donít fit well with the rather generic character designs, and this makes the show feel dated. There is also a strange obsession with the color of red in this show.

With the word "Melody" in the title, I was hoping for some good music, and the show doesnít disappoint here. There is a nice selection of music which fit the animation well and heightened the mood. The Spanish-sounding music was a bit odd. Voice acting is hit or miss, as some voices sound good, but others just donít really fit.

Iím upset with Geneon once again with this DVD release, since they have one sad "extra."

There is a sense here of a story that could be really good. The show, despite its oddities, is pretty interesting, but after the first volume, the show needs a clearer sense of direction of where the story is going to go and a more defined feel and mood. The Melody of Oblivion could be too odd for some, but for people that like to see unique shows, this could be for you.

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  • The Melody of Oblivion Vol. 1

  • Format:
    Bilingual DVD / 100 min. / 4 eps
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