The Melody of Oblivion

The Melody of OblivionType: TV Series
Episode Count: 24
Genre: Fantasy / Sci-Fi
Vintage: 2004

Version reviewed: Japanese, Subtitled
Date of Review: 09 Mar 2015

Grade: B-

A series tangentially related to Utena, but unfortunately unable to reach the same heights.

Plot Summary
In the late twentieth century, a war broke out between humans and monsters. After much bloodshed and violence, it was the monsters who had won. Now in the early twenty-first century, humans are allowed to remain as long as they serve the monsters. However, a resistance movement is still alive for the humans, in the form of those known as Melos warriors. Bocca meets one of these Melos warriors in his hometown and decides to join in the cause fighting against the monsters who rule over them. Along the way, Bocca meets many people; some who will aid in his quest, and others who will try to stop him.

The Review
The Melody of Oblivion is a series I became curious about when I learned that it was cut from some of the same cloth as Revolutionary Girl Utena. Some of the creative staff is the same, and both series were produced by J.C. Staff. While there are a few minor references to Utena, Oblivion is mostly its own series. Unfortunately, while I did find it to be interesting, it seemed to lose its focus a bit towards the end.

The easiest way to describe The Melody of Oblivion is as a “road trip” series. Once Bocca sets out on his journey to fight the Monster Union, we follow him as he meets people and stays at various places finding out their stories. This remains the formula until he arrives somewhere which changes not only his path, but also the path of the series.

The visual aspect of the series is what I liked most about it. It borrows heavily from Utena’s visual style, its film in particular, with most of the backgrounds tinged with blood-red highlights. There are also some surreal elements, but unlike Utena, symbolism didn’t seem to play as much of a role in Oblivion. Character designs are also reminiscent of Utena, largely because Shinya Hasegawa was responsible for both.

The story and characters in The Melody of Oblivion hold up pretty well, for the most part. The story is fairly straightforward, and the characters have a bit of depth to them, except for a few minor supporting characters. Despite the impressive pedigree of series writer Yoji Enokido, whose portfolio includes Utena and Evangelion, The Melody of Oblivion is unable to reach the level of either of those series. To me, it’s simply a case of unrealized potential.

The Melody of Oblivion has a promising premise and certainly looks good. Unfortunately, I think it falls short of what it could have been. It’s not a bad series, but it just seems to lack something which I can’t quite put my finger on.

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