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Anime / Melody of Oblivion

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"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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Deranged Animation: All scenes involving Monsters, especially The Labyrinth and Hecate's bowling.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Rule of Cool: Sentient flying motorcycles? Why not? Sentient flying motorcycles that transform into Bishounen? Even better!
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out: The opening soundtrack of the space episodes is a blatant rip-off of Star Wars.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.