Anime / Melody of Oblivion

"A great war took place in the 20th century. It was a full-blown war between humans and monsters. Words alone could not describe the violent struggle that ensued. And in the end, the monsters were victorious. Days passed and a new century began. And slowly, people began to forget that melody."
— Melody of Oblivion

Many years ago, there was a war between the humans and the Monsters. The Warriors of Melos fought valiantly, but in the end, the Monsters won, and rule from the shadows. The children of the current era are completely ignorant of the battles of the past, even as children mysteriously disappear, sacrifices to placate their Monster overlords.

Melody of Oblivion chronicles the journey of Bocca and his allies as they fight Monsters and, more often, the humans of the Monster Union, searching for the truth behind the phantom girl called 'Melody of Oblivion' whom only Warriors of Melos can see.

An extremely surreal show full of flashbacks and flashes to symbolic portrayals of the action, strong themes of the show are the loose line between reality and fantasy and rebellion against society's mores.

A 24-episode anime series by JC Staff (with help from Studio Gainax) that originally aired in 2004. There is also a six-volume manga adaptation produced by Kadokawa Comics.

This show provides examples of:

  • After the End: The monster war ostensibly happened in the 20th century, and the technology we see matches this. However, the war itself has left relics that suggest they were actually far more advanced. Considering the level of reality warping the monsters do, the war may even be in the future.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: "Viva Monster Union!"
  • And the Adventure Continues: The final scene (combined with Here We Go Again and Where It All Began).
  • Animal Theme Naming: All of the Monster Union agents have one that reflects both their respective mecha and their personality.
    • They also correspond to pretty much everything in the Eastern Zodiac.
  • Anything That Moves: Coco (at least she tries).
  • Badass Adorable: Coco.
  • Badass Biker: Not so much in the anime, but in the manga Kurofune is exactly this.
  • Badass Longcoat: Bocca.
  • Badass Normal: Sayoko doesn't have any Melos abilities. The only things she's good at are tricking and stealing. Which proves enough to save the whole bunch of Badasses from mortal peril.
  • Being Good Sucks: That's what each new Melos Warrior learns very quickly.
  • Bottomless Bladder: Averted by Coco using the "Ladys" on the Mahoroba: "It's difficult to do this in Zero G."
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: "Echo, my Melos!"? "Singing Chord, Feeling of {whatever}!"? "Just Fit Rim!"
  • Byronic Hero: Child Dragon is a perfect parody.
  • Chained to a Rock: Apparently the Minotaur's sacrifice of choice. A flashback reveals that Sayoko went through this.
  • Chaste Hero: Bocca takes this to the extreme, passing on both Elle's and Sayoko's offer of sex to go adventuring.
  • Child Eater: The monsters accept children as sacrifices, although Horu is the only monster depicted as actually devouring his.
  • Classical Mythology: The Monsters' names and appearances are borrowed from Greek myths.
  • Dead All Along: The Melody of Oblivion.
  • Deranged Animation: All scenes involving Monsters, especially The Labyrinth and Hecate's bowling.
  • Disney Villain Death: The Monster King.
  • Dress Hits Floor: Clothing in general in fact, at the snap of a finger.
  • Eastern Zodiac: Monster Union mechas plus The Monsters' true forms.
  • Empire with a Dark Secret: It seems like peace reigns in every day life... until you realize it's maintained by sacrificing the lives of children.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Flying Bunny.
  • Explosions in Space:
    ? 'Echo, my Melos'? Is sound supposed to travel in space??
    ? Boy, they just seem to lack the simple common sense...
  • Evil Gloating: Monster Union members revel in this. Episode 23 consists of it almost entirely.
  • Faceless Goons: Hordes of clerks working for Monster Union. Oh, wait... are those really tourists, or has a toy factory conveyor sprung a leak?
  • Fanservice: The girls' Melos Arrow firing are all - more than a little erotic, and this is just the beginning. Other examples include Sayako's outfit and the cowgirls in the final four episodes.
  • Gainax Ending: Subverted. The degree of Mind Screw grows steadily over three episodes, and then all of a sudden you get a perfectly comprehensible ending.
  • Gainaxing: 'Farm girls' gains a whole new meaning.
  • Harbinger of Asskicking: The same musical theme preceding each villain's appearance.
  • Harem Anime: Parodied by the Armed Theatrical Group Chentauro.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Except Bocca and Elan Vital, Toune, Koko, and their Aibar Machines get voluntarily stuck in time and are left behind. Kurofune stays in the labyrinth to make sure Horu remains inside.
  • Hitler Ate Sugar: Taken ad absurdum in the "Monster Olympus" scene.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Child Dragon. His rendition of the show's ending theme is really awful.
  • Honor Before Reason: Kurofune.
  • Human Sacrifice: That very means which Utopia justifies.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Monster Union's robot monsters.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: This is how Monster Kings are made.
  • Limited Animation: Particularly jarring. It gets really boring seeing the same arrow shooting sequence after the third episode. It gets worse though—the sequence changes and becomes longer.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Sayoko has a brother in the Monster Union codenamed Lucky Thoroughbred, and Coco is the long-lost daughter of the Japanese Prime Minister.
  • Loveable Rogue: Sayoko.
  • Mark of the Beast: Monster Union agents get branded with one.
  • Mind Screw: What are the ape men? How did the war begin and end? Why isn't Bocca the 4th monster king? Is Sayako still alive, or is she just like the Melody of Oblivion?
  • Moment Killer: Poor Bocca and Sayoko manage to turn into an Official Couple around halfway in the series, but never seem to progress beyond that due to interference (mostly type 2) from just about anything, including a goddess and the Prime Minister of Japan.
  • Playboy Bunny: Monster Union agent Flying Bunny and her robot monster.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Metaphorically, the whole society. Literally, the robot factory.
  • Reality Warper: The monsters.
  • Rule of Cool: Sentient flying motorcycles? Why not? Sentient flying motorcycles that transform into Bishounen? Even better!
  • Rocket Jump: How about a Crossbow Jump?
  • Rocket Punch: Wrench Monkey's ape mecha.
  • Scenery Porn: Melody Of Oblivion's water color style backgrounds are very beautiful, although because of the rich symbolism and strange locations, they often are important to the plot.
  • Screw Destiny: Bocca uses it to escape from Minotaur.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The Monster Union remembers about this in the last two story arcs. Apparently the remaining Agents Took a Level in Badass over the preceding series.
  • Space Is an Ocean: Child Dragon's idee fixe.
  • Space Is Noisy: Lampshaded by Flying Bunny - "Did she just say 'Ring out! My Melos!'? In the vacuum of space, where no sound travels?"
  • Spell My Name with an "S": In the fansub all the Melos attacks coincide with poker hands, but in the official translation Bocca's 'Flush' is changed to 'Flash'. The anime also bleeds musical terminology (as per the title), but the official translation oddly changes 'Bio Concerto' to 'Bio Co-ordination'.
    • The Geneon subs have "Bio Concerto", and only use "Flash" in some early episodes (switching to "Flush" later).
  • Split Personality: The Monster King has gone too far in talking to himself.
  • Story Arc: The episodes are grouped into three episode arcs except for the first two episodes and last episode.
  • Sucking-In Lines: Child Dragon's Robot Monster.
  • Super Robot: Each Monster Union agent rides in one.
  • Taking the Bullet: Apparently doesn't help when performed by a ghost.
  • Talking Animal: The true-false parrot who passes on messages to Monster Union agents from fellow agents, although it's really Solo, a.k.a. the Monster King, doing a ventriloquist act.
  • The Cape: Melos Warriors in the Space Arc.
  • The Maze: Usually the Minotaur is inside the Labyrinth. Now, how about the Labyrinth inside the Minotaur? To make things worse, both variants apply simultaneously. And, to crown it all, time and space go totally nuts in there.
  • The Starscream: Lucky Thoroughbred shows signs of this in his appearances.
  • Travel Cool: A four-legged horned bus. And a ship going through forests. And, of course, sentient flying motorbikes.
  • Tsundere: Toune is a "Type Tsun" one, reserving her "deredere" exclusively for Sky Blue.
  • The Unfought: Contrary to expectations, the vast majority of antagonists are not monsters, but the humans supporting them and their "robot monsters". The only monsters Bocca confronts are Horu, Hecate, and Pan in the final episode.
  • Unobtainium: The Omotenium Bomb.
  • The Unfavorite: Sayako.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Humanity as a whole abides by this, but especially the Monster Union Agents.
  • Villain of the Week: Monster Union agents.
  • Villainous Demotivator: "Arukoto Naikoto!!"
  • What the Hell, Townspeople?: It usually turns out that nobody's innocent, but most humans seem fairly united in their hatred of the heroes.
  • Winged Humanoid: Elan Vital. As if being a flying sentient bishounen motorcycle is not enough.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The Melody of Oblivion and all the Melos Warriors.

Episodes of this series provide examples of: